Schwarzenegger Wants Debate On Marijuana Decriminalization

Schwarzenegger Wants Debate On Marijuana Decriminalization


This came as a bit of a shock to me, but Arnold is definitely one of the most moderate Republicans I’ve ever seen and is willing to take chances giving his unique position as a Republican Governor of a solidly blue state. Also, let’s not forget that the state voted to okay medical marijuana back in 1996, so it’s a little easier to do.

From Politics Daily:

In February a state lawmaker introduced a measure that would decriminalize marijuana in California. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano suggested regulating and taxing pot could pump $1.3 billion annually into the state’s shaky economy. He got a handful of headlines but the bill didn’t spark much debate and Ammiano was mostly portrayed as a fringe figure from kooky San Francisco.

On CNN a month later Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said the state should launch a pilot program that would explore legalizing marijuana. Sanchez likened the issue to the prohibition of alcohol last century and said most Californians believe pot laws should be relaxed. (A recent Field Poll supports her claim: 56 percent of California voters say cannabis should be legal for recreational use and taxed). The interview made the blog rounds since it appeared to be the first time a national politician addressed the issue seriously on a mainstream media outlet.

Today an even bigger figure has taken up the discussion on whether to decriminalize and tax marijuana. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it’s time to at least debate the issue. The Republican governor made it clear that he’s not for legalizing weed, but he doesn’t want to be afraid to talk about it.

First question…should marijuana be decriminalized?

Second…should Schwarzenegger just become a Libertarian already and shed the Republican label?


As politicians are preoccupied with debating the legalization of certain drugs, the families of drug addicts are trying their best to find the best drug rehab at a discount.

  • Adam Herman

    In answer to question 1: No, marijuana should not be decriminalized. It should be legalized. Decriminilization is absurd. It means that you can possess something but that no one can legally sell it to you. Which makes me wonder how they intend to tax it.

    Question 2: Arnie is no libertarian. He’s more of a centrist Republican.

  • ExiledIndependent

    Question One: Let’s stop dancing around this and legalize it, shall we? Obama gets another hefty revenue stream, we kill demand for a nice chunk of cross-border smuggling, and Taco Bell stock goes through the roof. We get people out of our incarceration system for using and selling a chemical that is less dangerous than alcohol.

    Question Two: I think the GOP in general, over the next three election cycles, is going to embrace a subset of both Libertarian and Consititution Party views. But Arnie may absolutely pull a Specter–but this time not for political expediency, instead for actual conscience.

  • Chris

    Yes. Even though I don’t use any drugs, I think that prohibition has failed once again. America needs to get it’s head out of the sand.

  • Tillyosu

    Question 1: It’s a good start. I detest marijuana, but I can’t think of a single good reason why it should not be legal. If the cartels had lobbyists, they’d be out in full force against legalization. It would be corporatized (for lack of a better term), marketed, and distributed so fast that I think the left wouldn’t know whether to celebrate, or start protesting “Big Marijuana.”

    Question 2: I think the Republican party in general ought to shed their old image and embrace more libertarian ideals. With sky-high federal spending and government power growing exponentially, embracing libertarian proposals that cut deeply across party lines (like I assume this one does) is the only way for them to regain a majority.

  • TerenceC

    Of course it should be legalized. I don’t smoke it, but I know a lot of very respectable people who do. They have high visibility jobs, mortgages, kids, they are responsible members of their communities and occasionally they smoke a little weed. I guess you could say they are criminals, but in my opinion they are not and it wouldn’t serve society well to prosecute them. Legalize it, tax it hard, and cut the budget of the DEA afterwards.

  • Kevin Jackson


    Not sure if I agree with the taxation angle, if taxes are levied to pay for civilization one of the justifications for high rates on cigarettes and alcohol are to recoup the costs to society. I would think that the costs to the society aren’t even close for pot. I might be wrong. It is certainly not as big a health risk. If you are just doing it to raise money, jack up the rates on coffee. It’s a drug that most people are far more addicted to.

  • wj

    Legalized? Absolutely. The only really interesting discussion is which other drugs should have their status changed?

    Arnold is something of a relic of the days when the Republican Party had lots of moderates (and even liberals!) included. Then, he would have been in the conservative half. Today, he (and, I confess, I) is way on the liberal fringe of what is left. (A case could be made the Ronald Reagan today would be way out on the ultra liberal fringe of today’s Republican Party.)

    Does that mean he should leave the party? The answer depends on whether you think it is more likely that the Republican Party can be returned to being something other than a regional/theocratic party, or that another party (Libertarians or any other) can become a real significant national party. If he thinks the Republican Party is salvageable, he should stay and help make it happen. If not, then leaving makes sense.

  • Jonny

    #1 I think it’s obvious that marijuana should be legalized. There’s absolutely no logical argument against it. It makes more sense to make ice cream and donuts illegal than marijuana (and no, I am not joking, it really does if you think about it rationally.) The new Zogby poll that states 52% of Americans are for legalization is very good news. People are starting to wake up to the fact that they’ve been lied to about marijuana by the government for years.

    #2 It would be good for the country if there was a strong Libertarian party. It would hopefully push both the Republicans and the Democrats to actually start caring about civil liberties. Remember that old line about America being the “land of the free” ? It’s time to make that more than just a slogan.

  • Pumraa

    I personally don’t use but I heard there was 50,000 arrests in nyc yearly for weed. It seems like an economic decision to keep it illegal since it collects fine money. However, I know that the tobacco companies must be chomping at the bit to get some of this market.