SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Earlier this week Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom announced he would begin raising money to run for governor in 2018. He had a moment to join KCBS for a live in-studio interview Friday morning. One of the topics he addressed was the task force report he’s working on to legalize marijuana in the state of California.

Governor Brown has implied that he doesn’t want a state full of stoners, and longtime Senator Dianne Feinstein hasn’t shown much support for the legalization of recreational pot use.

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“I respect a difference of opinion, but it is a difference of opinion. I think it’s time to tax and regulate marijuana for adults,” Newsom said. He added that it’s time to reconcile what he calls the failure of efforts on marijuana prohibition.

Newsom organized a task force that will come out with a list of recommendations and concerns of people on the issue of legalization. He said they’ll address the issue of driving under the influence, how they’ll monitor testing to see what legal limits should be, and what the appropriate taxation should be and how those taxes should be distributed.

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Another legitimate concern is brain science and development, particularly in young people.

“We hope to put together recommendations that will form the debate discussion around the 2016 ballot initiative. I’d love to see an honest debate about this. It’s tough for politicians. In a state where you have all the statewide Democrats elected (I think I may be the only one with this position publically) like a lot of other controversial issues, there’s political consequence to having a position that may be not out of not just the mainstream of the public, but a lot of the special interest and constituency groups up in Sacramento that necessarily are protecting the status quo that don’t want to see this change.”

Newsom said he feels very passionately about this issue and doesn’t mind taking that political risk.
He added that he thinks Gov. Brown is more “open-minded” on the issue than his comments suggest.
“We have to do it right and I think his concern is if we don’t do it right, the unintended consequences could be profound.”

We now have Colorado and Washington State to serve as examples, rather than assertions, according to Newsom.

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The Lt. Governor also weighed in on the hot-button issue of vaccination in the state of California in light of the recent measles outbreak.