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Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.'s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says 'The Time Is Now'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The calls to legalize recreational marijuana are growing in Pennsylvania, along with the state's deficit.

Lt. Governor John Fetterman took to Twitter early this week, saying he wishes the state would tap into the cash crop to lessen the blow of the $3.2 billion deficit.

"Marijuana prohibition is a truly minority viewpoint in Pa.," said Lt. Governor Fetterman. "A significant majority of Pennsylvania are for legalization and I would just ask anyone who's not - it's like, well, you sure don't want to pay more in taxes."

He told KDKA's Meghan Schiller that the state is now $3.2 billion in the red and we're four months deep into a global pandemic that is not losing steam.

"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?" he says.

Bethel Park business owner Adrian Posteraro supports the idea. He recently entered the world of CBD and runs the CBD Wellness Store on Stuart Avenue.

"I think it's no different than the state store selling alcohol. As long as there's education that supports responsible usage then I think it's going to be fine," said Posteraro.

Lt. Gov. Fetterman hopes the tax revenue from marijuana sales could generate close to half a billion dollars in revenue for the state each year, but not everyone's buying his viewpoint.

"I think Pa. has enough sin taxes now we don't need any more to try to fill the gap of revenue," said State Senator Patrick Stefano.

The Republican lawmaker from Fayette County suggested: "Why don't we look at controlling our spending first?"

State Sen. Stefano chairs the Law and Justice Committee and oversees the state's liquor, police and marijuana.

"The bill to legalize recreational adult use marijuana is in my committee and I don't plan on bringing it up anytime soon yet. We have a lot of research yet to do."

It's research business owner Posteraro hopes doesn't take too much time.

"Well, I hope it's sooner rather than later because, again, I think it is an opportunity," he says.

State Sen. Stefano said his committee is doing research and looking into new studies. He tells KDKA's Meghan Schiller the biggest hold up right now is that there's no way to measure THC in a person's body. He said until there's a tool to measure intoxication, he's hesitant to move forward.

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