Last week NORML reported on the results of a just-released Field Research Corporation poll that found that 56 percent of California voters agreed with the statement: “Legalize marijuana for recreational use and tax its proceeds.” Today, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked about the Field poll result, which was the third poll of 2009 demonstrating majority support for legalizing pot among west coast voters.
His reply: “I think it’s time for a debate (regarding taxing and regulating the sale of cannabis for adults). 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? It could very well be that everyone is happy with that decision and then we could move to that.“
What a difference eight weeks makes. After all, this is the same Gov. Schwarzenegger that said in February that he vehemently opposed California Assembly Bill 390: The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act, which seeks to impose a tax on the commercial production and legal retail sale of cannabis. And today? Well, today the Governor is singing a different tune. “It’s time for debate. … I’m always for an open debate on it.”
So are we! Since March, NORML supporters have sent over 8,000 e-mails to their members of the California state assembly in support of AB 390, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. Now it’s time to start directing those thousands of e-mails, phone calls, and letters to the Governor. Tell Gov. Schwarzenegger: “I am one of the majority of California voters who supports taxing and regulating the use and sale of cannabis by adults. Studies consistently show that countries that have removed criminal penalties for the personal use of marijuana, such as Portugal and the Netherlands, have far lower rates of cannabis use than the united States. I agree that the time has come for an objective and public debate on this topic. I urge you to encourage the legislature to hold hearings on this important issue."
You can also send an automated e-mail to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s office via NORML’s Take Action Center here.