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Schwarzenegger open to studying marijuana tax idea

Arnold mug Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says California should study other nations’ experiences in legalizing and taxing marijuana, although he is not supporting the idea.

He says it’s time to debate proposals such as a bill introduced in the Legislature earlier this year that would treat marijuana like alcohol. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, says taxing marijuana at $50 per ounce would bring more than $1 billion a year to the state.

Schwarzenegger said during a Tuesday news conference that “it’s time for debate” on the idea. But he warned against making harmful decisions just for the sake of raising money.

He said some other nations have had negative experiences. Ammiano’s bill is on hold in the Legislature. He delayed seeking approval until next year.

-- Associated Press

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (71)

did he mean negative experiences legalizing pot or negative experiences making harmful decisions to raise money?
if its the latter, then it's completely understandable...if its not...i want to see this proof of other nations having negative experiences with legalizing marijuana

I'm a successful commodities trader under a multibillion dollar company with an amazing wife that I love more every day along with two beautiful girls that I call my princesses. I don't think marijuana should be legal for these reasons.

After work (my hours are from 5:00am-3:00pm, weekdays) I pick up my two lovely daughters to drop them off for some after extracurricular activities; the younger to baile, and the older to soccer. I usually stay to watch my younger daughter dance her heart out as she smiles when she sees me watching. My wife usually picks them both up so she can spend some "one on two time" with them as well. As you can see I have a pretty normal, happy life, living the American dream I guess you could say. I am regular user of marijuana and I can see first hand the destruction marijuana causes to my family and career. When our kids happen to both have a sleep over and we have the night off I usually bring home a little bit of marijuana, a joint worth. My wife and I then smoke it together. We get a little silly with each other and act like we are falling in love all over again, then when we are little less stoney, about 30 minutes, we call a taxi and have a night on the town! We usually go to a nice restaurant where I am able, to once again, prove my chivalry to her. After dinner we may take a stroll down the street and just talk as we enjoy the night. We return home around 9:00 and enjoy the night together until we fall asleep. We wake up the next day, smiling and satisfied that we both have a pretty normal, happy life.

As you can see, marijuana destroys families. Please do not legalize marijuana, my family is a fair representation of what marijuana really causes.

Thank you,


I loved when, confronted with whether he smoked pot after winning Mr. Olympia in "Pumping Iron", the governor responded "Yes... and I inhaled." Government isn't the answer to everything - by legalizing marijuana the government isn't condoning the drug, it is just saving billions of dollars on persecution of victimless 'crimes' and making billions on taxes, while opening marijuana trade to all business people rather than just the ones who are willing to break the law. Go Governator!

People use as much pot as alcohol but they now have to buy it from drug dealers who pay no taxes and offer them far more dangerous drugs upon purchase. Legalizing pot will save lives, free up police and unclog fails, increase education about more dangerous drugs while decreasing their consumption, and increase tax revenues. LEGALIZE NOW!

The "problem" with taxing MJ is that anyone can grow it.
If it is legal and sold growing it cannot be prevented.


Take the political steps necessary...being "open" to this idea is the first...but please do not delay too long.

The sooner this substance is legalized and taxed, the better off we all will be. Sensible adults will be able to parttake without fear of arrest or worse, gangs and other dealers will find it increasingly more difficult to ply their trade, young people will find it more difficult to obtain it, and the taxpayer will get a break by seeing more money in government coffers. IT IS TIME!!

At last, some reality on senseless laws. End the billions of dollars of ineffective enforcement while simultaniously bringing in revenue and see how the budget deficeit disappears.

Politicians make harmful decisions all the time! This would actually reduce "harm."

Anti-prohibitionists should take heart from Arnold's stance. The fact that even established politicians are welcoming debate shows that there is a sea change. We could see marijuana have the same status as alcohol in five years or sooner.

I don't smoke dope. I've not taken an illicit substance (or even a drop of alcohol) in almost 16 years. My drugs are nicotine and caffeine. My take on pot is that we should do the same with it as we do with tobacco and alcohol:


(and maybe if they start taxing pot, they'll stop raising the taxes on my cigars for a bit)

Eric, when you call the cab are you too stoned to call a babysitter too?

And how do you explain tobacco? Doesn't seem like much of a "problem".

"The "problem" with taxing MJ is that anyone can grow it.
If it is legal and sold growing it cannot be prevented."

If they imposed a growers license for anyone wanting to grow it would guarentee 500 dollars to the government..Caught without it you are heavily fined...We can then tax and regulate dispesaries...Its a fool proof way to ease it into mainstream...

Smoking marijuana can lead to more dangerous drugs. It's the gateway drug. It makes people apathetic. It causes short term memory loss. It has a negative effect on learning. But people smoke marijuana because it's readily available and enjoyable. That's a fact. We might as well tax it. Let the profits go to farmers and American companies instead of drug cartels from Mexico.

The last time a bunch of radical politicians got together....and smoked pot.....they came up with the Declaration of Independence.

I think that is the ultimate fear of our political masters.

It is about time to hear that a bit of sanity may be returning to the non-issue of cannabis use. Legalize it, tax it if you must I personally don't ike the government taxing my plants) but just get on with it.
Alan in New Zealand

Making marijuana available in specialty stores (like headshops that already exist all over California) is a great idea. Keep it out of the hands of kids by enforcing strict age + ID requirements, just like alcohol, heavily fining establishments that sell to underage kids.

Time to be realistic, marijuana is the least harmful recreational substance out there, and taxing it will be a boon for our broke-ass state!

The "bad experiences" consist of drug tourists who don't know when to quit or how to handle a little freedom. The answer is clearly laid out behavioral expectations. In Amsterdam, there are coffee shops reserved for pot smoking. They do not sell alcohol there. smoking openly on the street, while they won't arrest you, you will be openly rebuffed by police and the general public. Great way to embarrass yourself. The Dutch distinguish between soft drugs and hard drugs, and hard drugs are prohibited. I"d be curious to know exactly what kinds of problems have occurred related to legalization of pot, b ut I imagine, if everybody followed the Dutch protocol everything would be cool.

Government doesn't belong in the discussion one way or the other. Neither should an ounce of pot be classified as "possession with intent to distribute", nor should it be taxed. Obviously such a small amount is for personal use. The only exception I see would be dispensaries, which have been approved by the People of California (but as we've seen with Prop 8, it doesn't matter what the voters say). This alone would free up jail space for more serious offenders, and reduce police department costs. I think going back to the old way, when cannabis was neither criminalized nor condoned, would be for the best.

If alcohol is legal, so should Marijuana. Legal precendence has been set with a much harsher drug, that being alcohol.

I smoke MJ almost every day, yet I make six figures, am a college graduate, have perfect health, play on basketall team in a park league once a week and well, you could say I'm the guy NO ONE thinks of when they think of smokers...I don't see how my nightly ritual of relaxing is any different than a drinker of Scotch, wine or any other form of alcohol, since it is clearlly safer.

Alcohol is way worse than pot. Tax it more and let me puff without giving up another thing to our idiotic government.

As any employer will tell you-they would rather have a MJ smoker than a alcoholic. Both are bad but if you have legalized and taxed one how can you ban the other.

Legalizing and taxing marijuana will help little in balancing the state budget. Our government is a mess, business costs 20% more here than in neighboring states, we import poor immigrant workers and export talented citizens and businesses, all the while increasing government spending.

Can someone tell me where I can go to sign a petition to recall Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You can say that marijuana is worse than alcohol and that it should be treated accordingly, but you can't make believe that it's true.

I believe the facts plainly show that marijuana is far less detrimental to society than alcohol. Just talk to MADD. They'll tell you all about it. But we sell alcohol in our grocery stores and gas stations and lock people up over marijuana crimes.

People in jail for marijuana crimes have usually only committed crimes due to the fact that it is against the law to posses and distribute marijuana. If the sale of marijuana was regulated by the government than these people would not be committing crimes.

As a result, there would be less people taking up space in our prison systems which would make more room for other offenders such as rapists and child molesters. Who would you rather have out on the streets, potheads or rapists and child molesters?

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