Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura wants to see marijuana and every other drug made legal in order to regulate them better.
During a series of interviews with Newsmax TV, Ventura — the author of the book "Marijuana Manifesto" — said Wednesday legalizing marijuana would also create jobs and help the economy.
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"We've got an entire industry out there waiting to happen," Ventura told J.D. Hayworth on "America Talks Live."
"It hasn't got any of these negatives they've sold to you over the years. The experiments in Colorado and Washington are phenomenal. In fact, in the state of Washington, their first trickle-down effect of legalizing marijuana, their statewide judicial budget fell 15 percent. In Colorado, they've got $300 million more to spend on schools and infrastructure because of the legalization of marijuana."
Ventura added that someone he knows used medical marijuana to treat epileptic seizures. The seizures went away with the use of the drug.
"That's why I'm so passionate that it needs to be legalized," he said. "There's people out there suffering and marijuana can help them."
In a separate interview on the "Steve Malzberg Show," Ventura claimed marijuana is not a gateway drug like people say it is.
"The gateway drug is tobacco," Ventura said. "I was a kid, the first thing I did was smoke tobacco. Second gateway drug was alcohol. Marijuana might have been third."
Malzberg and Ventura later went back and forth about legalization. Ventura said he would legalize heroin, and then answered yes when asked if he would make all drugs legal.
"You know what? Then you ensure the addict, addiction is a disease, it's a medical condition," Ventura said. "We choose to treat it criminally rather than medically.
"If you bring it above board, anything that isn't brought legally is then run by criminals. So you bring in a criminal element, the price goes up 10 times as high because it's illegal and then crimes are committed to support the addiction. You don't see crimes being committed to support cigarette smoking, you don't see crimes committed to support drinking. Why? Because they're legal and you can get it."
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