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    Schwarzenegger: Let’s Debate Marijuana Legalization

    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he is “for an open debate” on the question of whether marijuana should be legalized, taxed and regulated in order to generate revenue for the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reported May 6.

    “I think it’s time for debate,” said Schwarzenegger, who did not endorse legalization. “I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues — I’m always for an open debate on it.”

    Schwarzenegger’s comments came after a new poll showed — for the first time — that a majority (56 percent) of Californians favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The drug already is legal for medical use in the state. A recent national poll also found that 46 percent of Americans support legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

    State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana and impose a $50-per-ounce state tax on the drug, saying that the measure would raise up to $1.3 billion for the state annually. Ammiano praised Schwarzenegger for being “open-minded” toward the proposal.

    “This has never just been about money,” said Ammiano. “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.”