Dude... Schwarzenegger says it's time to debate marijuana

Could the legalization and taxation of marijuana rescue California's sagging economy? Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't endorsing the idea but today said he would be interested in a robust debate on the topic.

Although President Obama last month dismissed the possibility of legalizing marijuana, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says it's time to talk about it.

Speaking at an event to promote wildfire safety, the governor was asked a question about "wild life" safety. Specifically, if it was time for the state to start legalizing and taxing marijuana use.

"Well, I think it's not time for that, but I think it's time for a debate," Schwarzenegger said. "I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it."


A recent poll showed that 56 percent of Californians supported legalizing and taxing marijuana.

One bill in the California State Assembly would tax marijuana at $50 per ounce. The bill's author claims the state would make over $1 billion per year on the tax.


But it just can't be the money, Schwarzenegger Press Secretary Aaron McLear told The Vote . The governor is fine with a robust debate -- with two caveats:

"Shouldn’t debate it solely on fiscal terms," McLear said. "[And] we should talk to European countries that have legalized and see what they have learned—how’s it working out for them."

Roll back

Schwarzenegger brought up his native Austria and perhaps some recent dissatisfaction with more open drug laws.

"For instance in Austria, I've heard that they are unhappy with that and they want to roll back some of the decisions that were made in European countries. I've had dialogue with experts over there where I was born.

"It could very well be that everyone is happy with that decision and then we can look at that. And if not, we shouldn't do it," he added. "But just because of raising revenues, we have to be very careful not to make mistakes at the same time."


Last month, President Obama was asked if he favored the legalization of marijuana to help the ailing economy. In fact, it was the most emailed question the White House received in the online town hall meeting he hosted.

"I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” the president said. "But, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow the economy."


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