Schwarzenegger: It's Time to Talk About Legalizing Pot

California Gov. says he would welcome debate on legalization, taxation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2009 4:03 AM CDT
Pre-rolled marijuana joints are seen at a coffee shop in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Arnold Schwarzegger says California should look at the experiences of European countries with relaxed pot laws.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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(Newser) – California's governor would welcome a debate on terminating the state's ban on recreational use of marijuana, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that while it isn't time for the state to start treating marijuana the same as alcohol, the legalization issue should be discussed—especially in light of the potential tax revenue from growers and distributors.

Schwarzenegger suggested that California should closely examine the experiences of other countries that have legalized marijuana. The governor's comments came the day after a poll of Californians showed that for the first time a majority backed legalization of marijuana. The head of California's Association of Police Chiefs agreed that it was time for a debate.  "We keep walking around the 5000-pound elephant in the room, which is: Should marijuana be legal?" he said.