FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
It's time to debate legalizing marijuana in California - so says Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As the state faces mounting deficits, the governor says he's open to talking about different ways to create revenue. Although Schwarzenegger doesn't think the state should rush to judgment and start taxing and legalizing pot right now, he says he's interested in looking at other countries that have legalized it to see what effect it's had.
A cannabis plant is pictured. Cannabis is known as marijuana in its herbal form.
Schwarzenegger's comments come as support grows nationwide for legalizing pot. In California, a recent poll found for the first time a majority of voters back legalization.
One California lawmaker says regulating and taxing marijuana would bring the state as much as $1.3 billion a year in extra revenue. Proponents say it's about more than just money; it's about the failure of the war on drugs and implementing "a more enlightened policy."
One advocate tells The San Francisco Chronicle that Schwarzenegger's comments represent "a tectonic shift" in attitudes on the issue, saying: "The public is going to drag the politicians into doing what is right."
But not everyone is so sure this would be the right move. Some lawmakers say the potential revenue would hardly make a dent in California's deficit - which could soon reach $20 billion. They say this is just a sign of the governor's "growing desperation" over the budget.
Here’s my question to you: Is legalizing marijuana the answer to the government's money problems?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Ray from Nashville, Tennessee writes:
It won't solve the problem of the deficit, but it would help a little with revenues. More importantly, our court system would rid itself of a huge burden created by petty pot violations. Think of the money that would be saved by not having to bust, try and jail these people. It's a win-win situation.
There are too many people making too much money from this drug being illegal: cops, prisons, courts, and all the people they employ take home good paychecks from weed.
Tim from Texas writes:
Would you start smoking pot if it were legalized, Jack? How about Wolf? Does the fact that it is not legal prevent anyone from smoking it? The point here is that whether it's legal or not has no effect on whether people use it or not. So why not make it legal and tax it? For a billion dollars you could pay 20,000 teachers 50K a year.
Kathy from Wilcox, Alabama writes:
Legalizing pot won't eliminate government deficits. But it's a viable idea to discuss. If anything, legalizing pot would pacify large segments of the population into not worrying so much about deficits. I've never encountered aggression or anger in a pot smoker. But I've seen a lot of bruises and broken lives caused by alcoholics.
Sam from Orlando writes:
Absolutely! Marijuana should be legalized and taxed, that's more money. Satisfying munchies means more money. Taxing rolling paper means more money. Less violent crimes equals less need for enforcement resources, which means more money. We can have a more friendly society, crooks and coppers hugging and holding hands while sharing some fine government ganja.... it would be beautiful.
Guy from Atlanta writes:
Dude, I was going to post something but I forgot what it was. Have a nice day!