Lt. Governor John Fetterman of the state of Pennsylvania recently renewed the call for marijuana legalization in order to address the growing deficit, said KDKA. Fetter man believes that taking this move will reduce the impact of the state’s billion-dollar shortage.
In a tweet, the governor expressed his opinion saying, “If only there was a widely-consumed unregulated cash crop, wholly confined to the black market, that could generate billions of dollars + 1000s of jobs + help PA farmers.” The cash crop Fetterman was referring to is no other than cannabis. The governor noted that a significant majority of PA residents are in support of marijuana legalization and that prohibition is a “truly minority viewpoint” in the state.
An interview with KDKA revealed that Pennsylvania now has a $3.2 billion deficit and that the virus pandemic is making matters worse. Fetterman noted that the shortage can be addressed by increasing taxes.
A more viable solution can be tapped and this involves legalizing marijuana. The governor said, “There’s already a thriving marijuana market in PA. Why not make it legal, why not make it safe and why not make it taxable to help PA get back on its feet?” By legalizing cannabis, the governor hopes that the tax revenue could create around $500 million annually through marijuana sales.
Cannabis and CBD entrepreneur Adrian Posteraro agrees with this idea, comparing it to sin taxes for alcohol. He emphasized that adequate information and education about responsible usage should be present.
However, state senator Patrick Stefano is against this suggestion, saying that Pennsylvania has enough sin taxes that can compensate for the deficit. Instead, he proposed to control spending before legalizing the plant to generate tax revenues. Incidentally, Stefano also heads the Law and Justice Committee of the state, which is in charge of liquor, police and marijuana matters.
With regard to the proposal to make cannabis legal, Stefano said that he is not inclined to bring up the matter to his committee “anytime soon.” More research is yet to be done in order for the committee to tackle this suggestion and that new studies are underway. Regardless, the state senator noted that the biggest deciding factor in the committee’s decision making is the lack of methods to measure THC in a person’s body as a way to determine intoxication. Without such tools, Stefano remains adamant about legalizing the plant.
Posteraro, who also owns a research business, expressed hope that the panel makes its decision soon as he asserts that legalization creates an opportunity for the state. He is also the owner of CBD Wellness sore on Stuart Avenue in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.
Currently, Pennsylvania has a medical marijuana program that lets patients access cannabis products as long as they register with the state’s department of health. Some local jurisdictions have fully or partially decriminalized possession offenses. Meanwhile, possession and sale or distribution of certain amounts, as well as the cultivation of any number of plants, are punishable by law.