T Nation

Schwarzenegger Welcomes Debate Over Legalizing Pot


Just stumbled over this:

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) May 06 - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday he welcomes a public debate on proposals to legalize and tax marijuana, which some suggest could provide a lucrative new revenue source for the cash-strapped state.

The Republican governor, whose term in office expires at the end of next year, was asked about the idea of treating pot like alcohol at an appearance in northern California to promote wildfire preparedness.

"No, I don't think it's time for that, but I think it's time for a debate," he said. "And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what affect it had on those countries, and are they happy with that decision."

The former Hollywood actor, who has admitted smoking marijuana in the past, cited his native Austria as a country where "they want to roll back some of the decisions that were made in European countries."

He said a decision to legalize marijuana, which has been outlawed in the United States since 1937, should not be made on the basis of raising revenues alone.

Schwarzenegger's comments come days after a statewide Field Poll found that 56 percent of California voters support the idea of legalizing cannabis for recreational use and taxing its proceeds.

A bill introduced in the state Legislature by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Democrat from San Francisco, would do just that -- permitting taxed sales of marijuana to adults while barring sales to or possession by anyone under age 21. A similar regulatory structure already exists for alcoholic beverages.

Ammiano said his proposal would generate up to $1.3 billion in revenue for the state, which faces another multibillion-dollar budget shortfall just weeks after a landmark deal closing a $42 billion deficit.

He and others who support legalizing pot say such a move also would improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes and would end environmental damage to public lands used for illicit cannabis cultivation.

But in 2004, Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have eased rules on how much medical marijuana patients can possess in California.

Voters in California, the nation's most populous state, became the first to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes in 1996, putting the state at odds with federal law.

Under the Bush administration federal agents stepped up raids against medical marijuana dispensaries in California and other states that have passed similar laws.

But U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that the Justice Department under President Barack Obama has no plans to prosecute such dispensaries in those states in the future. However, Obama, who also has acknowledged smoking pot in his younger days, recently dismissed the idea of legalizing marijuana on a national level.


Yeah, I'm surprised this thread didn't show up sooner. This ought to be interesting, in a sort of train wreck way. I'm not really opposed to the idea, as I think the concept of mary jane as a "gateway drug" is somewhat farcical and has to some degree been debunked. However, I'm waiting for the huge and inevitable blitz of "above the influence" propaganda commercials.


That, and I think it's disgraceful that the Bush admin was allowed to raid INTRA-state commerce dispensaries. That is something that is protected by the 10th amendment to my rather rusty constitutional memories.


Wickard vs Filburn

Get this:

A clause in the constitution that was intended to limit federal oversight was interpreted in a way by the Supreme Court so that suddenly the federal government was responsible for everything that had any commercial aspect to it.

2/3 of what your federal government in doing is unconctitutional on its face.


Oh yeah, I'm painfully aware of the widespread unconstitutional actions of my gov't. It just makes me want to vomit. That's why I've considered changing countries when I've got enough resources. Problem is I'm not sure I can find a better situation anywhere else.


Arnold is in such deep shit, he is resorting to pathetic measures to balance the budget. He has a huge deficit to deal with, and his popularity is ridiculously low. He should be recalled.


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LMAO - leave it to Californians to try to legalize weed instead of just adding new oil wells and tapping into the BILLIONS of dollars in revenue sitting wasted offshore - with new drilling technology, they would not even have to add any new platforms! conservative estimates put the IMMEDIATE annual revenue at $40 billion! and this would drive down gas prices and reduce our dependency on foreign oil sources . . . .

nnnaaahhh, what I am thinking- let's just let our economy go to hell (or the Chinese - probably the same thing) and just sit around smoking weed as we collect our government welfare checks while we wait to hopefully see the doctor some time this decade for that nasty case of swine flu we caught . . . .


Let's not forget that he inherited a shit hole in its death throes though. You can't possibly lay all this at his feet.


As for offshore drilling, I'm not familiar enough to speak with any certainty on the subject, but I think it's a safe bet to say with all the wackos in Cali, you'd be hard pressed to get offshore drilling passed whereas weed is pretty popular with the wacko crowd.


Wow. How is 1.6 billion going to cover 42 billion? Someone's been hitting the bong hard.


Interesting that this comes right on the heels of the new Drug Czar talking about ditching the "War on Drugs"


As long as the potheads live up to the whole personal freedom and responsibility thing by helping to dismantle the nanny state, I don't care.


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I'd suggest Switzerland, but would encourage you to stay home and capitalize on your democratic institutions to change things. And no, I don't mean that change!

For better or for worse, the US leads the world and everytime one of you - and by that, I mean people with some sense - give up, it's the whole world that suffers the consequences to some extent.


What's this destination you speak of?

I'm all for personal responsibility. If, for instance, I smoke pot and get behind the wheel, I should really be carted off to jail for endangering lives.

If I smoke pot at home, or at someone elses home however?


What's this destination you speak of?

I'm all for personal responsibility. If, for instance, I smoke pot and get behind the wheel, I should really be carted off to jail for endangering lives.

If I smoke pot at home, or at someone elses home however?


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Usually I disagree with you Lixy, but you're absolutely right. The problem of course is that I can't do much other than make noise to the powers that be. And they tend not to listen to people who have no connections to either a) threaten b) shame or c) profit them. I probably won't be leaving any time soon, but sometimes my incredulity gets the better of me.


I can put alot of shit on him, he has increased government in California by 40%, and the state is not 40% better. California has the highest paid teachers and are among the worst in student performance. He is trying to push Prop 1a which extends taxes by 2 years, doubles the car tax, increases sales tax to make California the highest taxed state in the union, and decreases child tax credits. You can trust and believe he is a piece of shit governor and should have never gotten into politics. During his campaign, he promised not to take money from education, and not long after his election took 20 million dollars from educational programs. He is proposing programs to borrow from future potential earnings because he is such a pussy and can't stand up to the unions which are the worst here in California. They are like the mafia with their scare tactics. Fuck Arnold.