Two days after Pennsylvania’s elected fiscal watchdog argued for the financial benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana, Governor Tom Wolf had a different take on the hot button issue.
“I don’t think Pennsylvania is ready for it,” Wolf told NBC10 Wednesday. “I think that’s important. This is a democracy and you can’t move ahead of the electorate.”
“How do you do it?” Wolf continued. “How do you regulate it? Who can buy it? How do you tax it?”
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Monday that the state could bring in $200 million or more annually by raking in tax revenues from the legalization of recreational pot. DePasquale cited the financial benefits the legal marijuana industry has had in Colorado as part of his reasoning.
“The regulation and taxation of the marijuana train has rumbled out of the station across the United States,” DePasquale said. “The question is whether Pennsylvania is going to miss its stop.”
DePasquale predicted legalizing recreational marijuana would bring $200 million to Pennsylvania each year, helping to close deficits.
Governor Wolf believes Pennsylvania should first focus on medical marijuana before even considering the idea of legalizing recreational use. Pennsylvania has legalized medical marijuana and is in the process of setting up a system to grow, sell and regulate it.
“We ought to get that right and see how that goes,” Wolf said. “I ran on legalizing medical marijuana.”
Wolf also said he supports decriminalizing marijuana in a way that’s similar to what he’s seen in Philadelphia in order to lower arrests and keep pot smokers out of prison.
“Why should we destroy families, destroy lives, hurt the economy and add expenses by incarcerating people who have done something that really does not at this point merit that kind of penalty?” Wolf asked.
Wolf told NBC10 it would be wise to do more research on recreational marijuana and to wait for other states like Colorado, Washington and Maine to figure it out first.