Jerry Brown Afraid Marijuana Legalization Will Make Too Many Potheads


California Governor Jerry Brown is afraid that widespread marijuana legalization could lead to the creation of too many “potheads.” California has had a medical marijuana program since 1996 and it was one of the first states to pursue such a program. More expansive programs have been adopted by states such as Colorado and Washington in recent years however and this has reignited the debate regarding the legal status of marijuana overall. Advocates have been calling for a broader legalization of the drug beyond the medical uses that are permitted by programs such as the one in California. Colorado and Washington have taken a step in that direction but it is still not full legalization.

A marijuana “store” in Colorado

Brown was confronted with the question regarding marijuana during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday. Brown was on the program to discuss running for a fourth term as California governor, but host David Gregory posed the marijuana question. He asked Brown if the programs in states like Colorado and Washington made him consider the possibility of legalized recreational use in California. Brown replied that the world is a dangerous and competitive place in an economic sense and questioned whether a state could remain great if too many people were getting stoned.

Brown took the opportunity to tie the question to California’s economic recent economic turnaround and suggested that widespread marijuana use could threaten economic development in the state. He suggested that people need to stay “more alert” all day and that “potheads” would be unable to muster the focus or concentration that is needed in the current economic environment. Jerry Brown seems afraid that marijuana legalization would create too many “potheads.”

Brown went on to note that California’s program was not that different from what was implemented recently in Colorado and Washington. He said that he would be keeping a close eye on what is going on in both of those states. If they can “show us how it will work,” Brown implied that he would consider changes to California’s program in the future but that currently he was content with the way the system works in his state. He also warned that there is always a tendency to take things to “extremes” and that further loosening the restrictions on drugs like marijuana could have the unintended consequence of encouraging extreme behavior by removing the legal barrier.

Brown’s comments regarding marijuana were just one component of his “Meet the Press” interview although it was the part that attracted the most attention. Brown also discussed other issues such as drought relief efforts within the state and his own political future. But host David Gregory noted that he knows a good sound bite when he hears it, and implied that it was the question on marijuana that would define the interview.

In one context, Brown’s comments may be somewhat surprising coming from a self-described liberal politician, but his comments seem to follow public opinion in California. A recent opinion poll notes that support for marijuana legalization is growing in the state, and at 55 percent it does represent a majority opinion for the first time, albeit a narrow majority. Jerry Brown is afraid that marijuana legalization may create too many “potheads” and threaten the economic development of California.

By Christopher V. Spencer
On Twitter @CVSpencer79


The Los Angeles Times
The Washington Post
The Sacramento Bee
The San Jose Mercury News

8 Responses to "Jerry Brown Afraid Marijuana Legalization Will Make Too Many Potheads"

  1. YANAYN   March 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    This is democracy. Let the people vote. Jerry Brown does not speak for Californians.

  2. Robert Chase   March 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

    It is sad that even an old progressive like Brown cannot so much as question the old liberal misconceptions about cannabis — that generation seemingly will take its cherished prejudices to the grave, because they are incapable of taking in new and contradictory information.

  3. Jim Heffner   March 3, 2014 at 3:03 am

    I thought the Hippy Bashing tactic was abandoned by even the die hard prohibitionists.

  4. racefan   March 2, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Hate to say it Kristin but your post says more about your lazy son and your own parenting ability than it does about people smoking pot. Plenty of successful people use cannabis regularly with zero problems.

  5. cYaSK8 (@sAMOa92109)   March 2, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    perhaps it’s time for the closet imbibers who are contributing to the wealth of California to assemble, organize and put a plan of attack against all the haters. Sacramento’s wine is clouding Brown’s stance on weed.

  6. chas_holman   March 2, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Something about these overly ambitious, successful and powerful politicians who were long time notorious ‘potheads’ themselves, telling the rest of us peons how ‘unmotivated’ it will make us, that just makes me want to wretch.

  7. Kristin McDonald   March 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Why is my son, who started out an energetic, active, willing to try anything boy, now 20, hasn’t graduated high school, does not have a job, complains about everyone in the household but himself, not doing anything with his life anymore, not experiencing all the great benefits you speak of since his last 4 years of regularly smoking pot? I’ve seen a 100% change in personality/motivation since this “wonder drug” invaded my family and our state of Colorado. It has not done one positive thing for our family, our son, or our state that I can determine. Not saying its worse than “illegal drugs” or “alcohol” which is worse, but please do not tell me its without problems-only thing that changed was him using pot.
    Sad, Sad, Sad for our next generation.

  8. Shepherd Yerusalem   March 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    The ONLY thing dangerous about marijuana are the cops who shoot people for having it:

    Number of American deaths per year that result directly or primarily from the following selected causes nationwide, according to World Almanacs, Life Insurance Actuarial (death) Rates, and the last 20 years of U.S. Surgeon Generals’ reports.

    TOBACCO – 340,000 to 450,000

    ALCOHOL  (Not including 50% of all highway deaths and 65% of all murders) – 150,000+

    ASPIRIN  (Including deliberate overdose) – 180 to 1,000+

    CAFFEINE  (From stress, ulcers, and triggering irregular heartbeats, etc.) – 1,000 to 10,000
    “LEGAL” DRUG OVERDOSE  (Deliberate or accidental) from legal, prescribed or patent medicines and/or mixing with alcohol – e.g. Valium/alcohol – 14,000 to 27,000
    ILLICIT DRUG OVERDOSE – (Deliberate or accidental) from all illegal drugs – 3,800 to 5,200
    MARIJUANA – 0 

    (**Marijuana users also have the same or LOWER incidence of murders and highway deaths and accidents than the general NON-marijuana using population as a whole.** Cancer Study, UCLA; U.S. Funded ($6 million), First & Second Jamaican Studies, 1968 to 1974; Costa Rican Studies, 1980 to 1982; et al. LOWEST TOXICITY 100% of the studies done at dozens of American universities and research facilities show pot toxicity does not exist. Medical history does not record anyone dying from an overdose of marijuana (UCLA, Harvard, Temple, etc.)

    Accordingly a 1993 study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation came to the same conclusion as the above concerning marijuana and driving safety:

    “Marijuana, administered in a dose of 100 µg THC per kg of whole body weight…did not significantly change mean driving performance as measured…” – U.S Department of Transportation: Marijuana and Actual Driving Performance DOT HS 808 078

    The fact is people who use marijuana reflexes are not affected in a negative way and they become more conscious of safety, sometimes refusing to even drive.

    Marijuana is a plant with a safety record second to none.

    Anyone who would like to dispute these FACTS, point to a credible death that involves marijuana and nothing but marijuana, or hold your tongue.


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