Calif. Governor Open to Marijuana Tax Idea

May 6, 2009 1:10:54 AM PDT
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is opening the discussion about whether marijuana should be taxed and sold in California.He made the comments when he was asked about a recent field poll that shows 56 percent of voters support it to fix the budget shortfall.

The governor said it's time for the debate. An assembly member from San Francisco has already paved the way by pushing legislation to make marijuana as available as beer and cigarettes.

"I think of all those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it." Those remarks from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have some shaking their heads and others giving thumbs up.

Dana Bobbitt said, "It's about time. I don't know why it's taken 30 years to do what has been right for a long time. Can't believe it's taken this long."

Dana Bobbitt uses marijuana for it's medicinal qualities. He says he has back spasms and chronic pain that's eased when he uses it. He said, "I probably average two to three grams max a day."

Even Schwarzenegger himself was filmed smoking a joint in the 1977 film "Pumping Iron." Tuesday he said it was not time to legalize marijuana, just talk about it. Schwarzenegger said, "I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what affect did it have on those countries?"

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he's willing to discuss the issue as a way to educate the public. He said, "Unfortunately many of the people in California have been brainwashed and misled to believe marijuana is harmless. And truly is one of those drugs that takes away peoples motivation, motivation to go to work and school, and if you want to increase unemployment in your community, legalize marijuana."

Bobbitt grows his supply himself but he believes it should be available for recreational use as well. "Truthfully, I'll bet you 90 percent of the population of Fresno smokes marijuana on an occasional basis and nobody knows it," said Bobbitt.

Dyer says marijuana is more addictive than ever because the THC content is more than three times what it was several decades ago. But Bobbitt and others say that's not true.

Now the legislation introduced would tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol. That means those under 21 would not be able to use or possess marijuana. There would also be an enforcement body to oversee the taxing and sales.

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