London, May 6 (ANI): California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said it is time to talk about legalising the sale of cannabis to generate much-needed tax revenue for the state to help bridge its burgeoning 60 billion dollar debt, despite President Barack Obama dismissal about the possibility of legalizing marijuana.
Governor Schwarzenegger, who has admitted smoking marijuana in his youth, insisted that any decision would not be based on extra income for California, in spite of it having the dubious honour of the largest budget deficit of any state in the US.
He announced that he welcomes a public debate on the proposal, telling reporters it was time for an open forum on the issue.
"I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalised marijuana and other drugs, what affect it had on those countries, and are they happy with that decision," he added.
California was the first state to allow its residents to use marijuana for medical purposes, with licensed dispensaries a common sight since 1996 when the "Compassionate Use" bill was passed, The Telegraph reported.
Twelve other states have since followed suit and decriminalised cannabis use for individuals who meet certain criteria.
Recreational use is still prohibited, although a recent poll of California voters found 56 per cent to be in favour of legalising the drug for non-medicinal use.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is proposing a change in state law, allowing all adults over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana, which would become a taxable item. If implemented, Ammiamo claims that 1.3 billion dollars in revenue would be generated for the state. (ANI)