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Arnold Schwarzenegger: it’s high time to review marijuana law

Arnold Schwarzenegger has never apologised for smoking pot – and loving it — at the height of his bodybuilding career in the 1970s. Now, as a struggling Republican governor of California reaching a crossroads in his political career, he might yet become America’s most visible advocate for legalising marijuana.

The actor-turned-politician gladdened the heart of every joint-roller and dope fiend across the Golden State earlier this week when he said it was time for a full debate on legalisation.

Schwarzenegger was careful not to say too much – he stopped shorting of saying he was in favour of legalising cannabis now – but his words broke a long-standing taboo among both Republicans and Democrats who have previously felt obliged to say marijuana must remain illegal, and marijuana users and pushers be subject to criminal prosecution.

The governor spoke in response to a new public opinion poll showing that 56% of registered voters in California favour legalising and taxing marijuana – in part to help the state out of the worst budget crisis in its history. The state faces a shortfall of billions of dollars a year because of the bad economy, and public services from schools to hospitals to fire-fighting services are under mounting threat.

Asked if he too favoured legalisation, Schwarzenegger told reporters: “Well, I think it’s not time for that, but I think it’s time for a debate. I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues [are worth considering] … I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalised marijuana and other drugs. What effect did it have on those countries?”

The redwood forests of northern California are famous for their marijuana cultivation, creating an underground economy that has continued to thrive despite America’s decades-long war on drugs. The Golden State has been a leading rebel against the federal government’s strict interdiction policies, becoming the first of 14 US states to allow marijuana for medical use as far back as 1996.

Legalisation, however, has never been a serious part of the agenda.

The most immediate effect of the governor’s comments is likely to be a boost for a legalisation bill recently introduced in the state assembly by a San Francisco liberal Democrat called Tom Ammiano. Such bills pop up every few years and are almost always ignored or defeated, but this one may just be different now.

“I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues in the effort to be the first state in the nation to enact commonsense policy on marijuana,” an elated Ammiano said. His proposed system of legalising and taxing marijuana would raise an estimated $1.3bn a year in tax revenue alone, according to state legislative analysts. The savings in law enforcement and incarceration costs could be many billions more.

Schwarzenegger may feel he has little to lose. He feels out of step within an increasingly rigid, increasingly hardline conservative Republican party, and the economic crisis in California has pushed his popularity ratings below 40%.

Republican governor of California breaks long-standing taboo with call for debate on cannabis legislation

Patrick Schwarzenegger Reveals Dad Arnold Inspired Him to Quit Smoking Weed: ‘High on Life Now’

Patrick Schwarzenegger said his a-ha moment came courtesy of dad four years ago on Easter

Arnold Schwarzenegger is passing his healthy living tips on to son Patrick Schwarzenegger.

The Midnight Sun actor, 25, said Sunday that a 2015 Easter chat with his famous dad inspired him to quit smoking marijuana, and instead focus on getting “high on life.”

“FUN STORY: Few years ago (4 exactly) showed up [a] lil high to Easter brunch… classic. My old man asked why… said ‘I dunno makes thing more fun,’” Patrick recalled. “He replied how much more fun do you need to have, life is so good. I’m high on life. I never want anything that would take me out of my current life. Being high on life is better then [sic] anything else.”

Patrick, who was 21 at the time, said that his father’s wise words had quite the impact, and that he hasn’t touched marijuana since.

“Haven’t smoked since then… just HIGH ON LIFE NOW! Happy & healthy & can’t thank god enough to see another day!” he wrote alongside a smiling selfie of him flashing a peace sign. “Happy 4/20 sorry if that was a buzz kill lol.”

Arnold, 71, famously smoked a joint in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron, though he has since said it’s a habit he left behind decades ago.

“I did smoke a joint and I did inhale. The bottom line is that’s what it was in the ‘70s, that’s what I did. I have never touched it since,” he told CBS News in 2002. “I lived a certain life, I want everyone to know that’s the life I lived. As you grow up and as you become more mature, those things change. The only one that’s perfect is God.”

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A commenter on Patrick’s Instagram Sunday referenced the Pumping Iron scene, prompting him to respond, “Yeah & I smoked too. All good. Everyone goes through phases… but was the lesson he learned & then passed onto me that’s important.”

The father and son pair have previously made a show of inspiring each other to get healthy on social media, like in February, when Arnold said he capped a trip to Budapest by indulging in a decadent milkshake.

“Life is all about balance. A 0 degree (celsius) temperature didn’t stop me from my morning bike ride, and my commitment to fitness didn’t stop me from enjoying some not-0 calorie delicious treats. #lifeisaworkout” he posted on Instagram.

Patrick jokingly responded, “Yah better drop down and gimme 10 after that milkshake,” to which Arnold replied, “That’s fair.”

The Terminator star previously spoke of his son’s love for fitness in a November interview with Men’s Health.

“Patrick, he works out every day, but he doesn’t want to get too big because of the acting, because he’s being sought after now for romantic roles, not action roles,” Arnold said. “But eventually, when he gets to be like 30, 35, he will go get bigger and then do more action movies. But I love seeing [my sons] work out and being into it. It’s a great feeling.”

Patrick Schwarzenegger said that an Easter chat with his famous dad inspired him to quit smoking marijuana, and instead focus on getting “high on life.” ]]>