Schwarzenegger Open to Debate on Legalization

May 5 - Asked today about a recent Field Poll showing that 56 percent of registered voters support legalizing and taxing marijuana in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said "Well, I think it's not time for that, but I think it's time for a debate."

"I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it," Schwarzenegger said at a press event in Davis. "I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what effect did it have on those countries...It could very well be that everyone is happy with that decision and then we can look at that."

"We're glad to see that the Governor is open to the debate that was begun by the introduction of AB390, Tom Ammiano's legalization bill," said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML. "Rep. Ammiano deserves credit for bringing this issue to the public forum."

"This has never just been about money," Ammiano told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's also about the failure of the war on drugs and implementing a more enlightened policy. I've always anticipated that there could be a perfect storm of political will and public support, and obviously the federal policies are leaning more toward states' rights."

Over 8,000 Californians have sent emails to their legislators about the bill through NORML's websites. Send an email to Gov. Schwarzenegger supporting legalization.

On the National stage, Rep. Jim Webb has put legalization on the table. Webb introduced The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009, which seeks to initiate a comprehensive re-evaluation of America's drug and prison policies.