Perry, other governors, not ready for legal pot, but...

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by SCOTT THOMPSON / CNN

CNN

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in two states, and sales of the drug are bringing in big bucks in tax revenue.

So will more states legalize lighting up?

Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) — who may be putting his hat in the ring once again for the Republican presidential nomination — said his state has been focused on adjusting the penalties for drug crimes.

"The idea that a kid has one marijuana cigarette and you send him to prison where they can learn to really be a hardened criminal is not thoughtful public policy," he said.

Colorado expects to rake in $184 million in tax revenue in the first 18 months of recreational marijuana sales.

Even with that much money on the table, a panel of Republican and Democratic governors say their states will not be following suit.

"I don't think tax revenue should have anything to do with the discussion about whether you legalize marijuana," said Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Connecticut) on CNN's "State of the Union." "Quite frankly, they are two distinct issues."

However, Connecticut has decriminalized small amounts of pot, and has also legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Missouri) said some in his state are also considering legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes. "To move beyond that at this point is a bridge too far," he said.

For its part, Colorado says much of the tax revenue from pot sales will go toward preventing young people from using the drug, and toward substance abuse treatment.

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