Stargazing

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants dope debate

Arnold Schwarzenegger

has called for opening debate and studying the merits of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

“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. And 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?”

The Governator’s stance isn’t surprising. Who can forget him toking it up in the cult-classic documentary “Pumping Iron” in 1977?

Legalization makes sense, in my view. Not only is there tax revenue to be had, but then you also don’t have to spend millions on law enforcement and jailing of offenders. Plus there’s no way a pot-smoker should stay in jail when a rapist/murder walks free.

Also, NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) reports that in countries that have removed criminal penalties for personal use, such as the Netherlands and Portugal, the rate of use is "far lower" than it is in the United States.

| Eric Winkler, ewinkler@kcstar.com

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