Opinion: Carlos Santana wants Obama to legalize marijuana


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Maybe he was inspired by the Las Vegas rock club where he will soon be setting up shop during a 6+ month residency, or maybe he was inspired by Barack Obama’s answer to the most popular question posed by Americans to the president. In an interview with the Associated Press this week while promoting his upcoming run at The Joint, Carlos Santana was clear about his position about the legalization of marijuana, and took a shot at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger while he was at it.

“I really believe that as soon as we legalize and decriminalize marijuana we can actually afford a really good governor who won’t keep taking money away from education and from teachers and send him back to Hollywood where he can do ‘D’ movies and we can get an ‘A’ governor,” the multi-platinum, Grammy winning guitarist said.

Santana said he has a serious invitation for the new president: “Bring the brothers home, and sisters home now. Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education. You will see a transformation in America.”


Over 3 million people voted on questions to be asked to President Obama for the online town hall that took place last week. All of the most popular six questions of the Budget section were about marijuana and drug legalization. Unlike the other questions which Obama answered completely with reasons and examples to support his stance, many felt slighted by the way he answered the pot question.

“Three point five million people voted,” Obama said. “I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy -- (laughter) -- and job creation. And I don’t know what this says about the online audience -- (laughter) -- but I just want -- I don’t want people to think that -- this was a fairly popular question; we want to make sure that it was answered. The answer is, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy -- (laughter) -- to grow our economy.”

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano disagrees. He recently proposed measure AB 390 that if passed claims that the legalization of marijuana would be worth billions to the state. Times staffer Eric Bailey wrote in February, “by some estimates, California’s pot crop is a $14-billion industry, putting it above vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). If so, that could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year.”

Santana’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino residency in Sin City starts in late May and runs through 2010.

-- Tony Pierce