Schwarzenegger : Let’s Talk About Legalizing Pot

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California says it’s time to talk about legalizing pot. Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images.

‘This is only going to increase the governor’s popularity,’ Aaron Smith of the Marijuana Policy Project said. ‘We have solid polling data showing that a majority of Californians are ready for this.’

By Declan McCullagh / May 6, 2009

In the last week or two, proposals to legalize medical marijuana have advanced in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken a significant step further, saying on Tuesday that it’s time to debate legalizing marijuana for recreational use in California.

“I think it’s time for debate,” he said in response to a reporter’s question. “I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues — I’m always for an open debate on it.”

Thanks to a 1996 ballot measure, medical marijuana is already legal under California law, though local officials have substantial discretion. Although that conflicts with federal law, the Obama administration has chosen not to target California medical marijuana dispensaries.

“Most Californians support the idea of making marijuana legal,” Aaron Smith, the California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told CBSNews.com. “Right now, the state is in a budget fiasco that not going to go away soon… It’s about time they look outside the box at ways of generating revenue.”

State legislator Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat,
introduced a bill in February to legalize recreational marijuana. Bill AB 390 would license “commercial cultivators of marijuana” and establish a complicated web of regulations and tax rules they and retailers must follow.

It could raise over $1.2 billion a year in new tax revenues, assuming a $50-an-ounce tax, according to one analysis one analysis.

“This is only going to increase the governor’s popularity,” Smith said. “We have solid polling data showing that a majority of Californians are ready for this. It’s a good political move, though I don’t think he necessarily did it for those reasons alone.”

A Field poll (PDF) released on April 30th found that 56 percent of the state’s registered voters support legalizing marijuana and taxing its proceeds.

[CBSNews.com’s Charles Cooper contributed to this report.]

Source / Political Hotsheet / CBS News

Governor Says ‘It’s Time For Debate’ On Pot

Also see New Poll: 52% Say Marijuana Should Be Legal, Taxed, Regulated / Salem News-com / May 6, 2009

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8 Responses to Schwarzenegger : Let’s Talk About Legalizing Pot

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yea herbinator

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, let’s abandon decency in favor of a high tax revenue, and watch our country really go to the dogs!!!!

    This is sickening; just sickening!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Decency??

    Anonymous #2, do you think it’s decent to arrest 100,000 Americans a year for enjoying themselves? Do you think it’s decent that our prisons are crammed with parents of minor children who have never committed any crime but to enjoy an herb given to humanity in Genesis? Do you think it’s decent that alcoholics and tobacco addicts are able to purchase their drugs-of-choice (well-known poisons) while those who choose instead a safe, natural, non-addictive adult pastime are hounded and insulted? Or are you one of the Moral Elite who would have everyone go through life with their eyelids taped open?

    Get a clue, get a life, but GET OUT OF MINE!!!!!

  4. This is excellent news! Historically, it was Republicans — Republican women in particular — who ended the folly of Alcohol Prohibition, for the very same reasons that Cannabis Prohibition should be repealed today: a) it doesn’t work; b) it gobbles up law-enforcement resources while violent criminals go free; c) it unfairly stigmatizes people as “criminals” who have never committed a crime other than ignoring prohibition; and d) it unfairly deprives both the US and Mexico of clean, productive, profitable jobs and industry.

    While Democrats worry about their “image” more than about what’s the right thing to do, and the far-right Republicans seem determined to crash the ship of state onto the rocks if they can’t have the wheel, Schwarzenegger’s is a voice of reason, sanity, and, one devoutly hopes, actual hope!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree, this looks like good news. California needs the money and pot is their biggest cash crop. Arnold reminds me of the way Leonard Nimory once described Richard Nixon: “Only Nixon could go to China.” My thoughts exactly upon hearing the latest in California. If someone could get the job done on this issue, He’s seems to be the right person there, at the right time.

  6. I had a friend who said years ago before she died of alcoholism, that they should make everything legal; it would keep the prisons less crowded, and people would die from their own ‘vices’ sooner (taking the load off the social security system).

    She was an alcoholic; a drug addict, and made life miserable for herself and her family. She neglected her children; 3 of 5 of her kids were

  7. An interesting article from our Nevada newspaper:

    Medical marijuana advocates rally for drug’s expansion
    Small group says drug could help more Nevadans, seeks reform of laws
    By Jeff Pope

    Sat, May 9, 2009 (7:17 p.m.)

    Marijuana rally
    Reader poll
    Should laws be changed so sick Nevadans have more access to medical marijuana?
    Yes.
    No.

  8. I think it’s time ole Arnold “turn on, tune in” — shit, we know he’s not going to drop out! I’d like to get high with Arnold, it would be an experience. Arnie, “Are you experienced?”

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