WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – President Barack Obama brushed off a question about legalizing marijuana in his online town hall last month, but guitar god Carlos Santana says he wishes he would seriously consider it.
"Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education," Santana said in an interview this week. "You will see a transformation in America."
During his online town hall on March 26, Obama fielded a question about whether legalization of the illicit drug would help pull the nation out of recession. Obama said he didn't think it was good economic policy, and also joked: "I don't know what this says about the online audience."
But Santana said making pot legal is "really way overdue, like the prohibition with the alcohol and stuff like that.
"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," referring to former movie action hero and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Santana made the comments as he was promoting his upcoming rock residency in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The show debuts May 27 and runs through 2010.
"It's a milestone for me because I always said I would never do certain things," Santana said, adding that the list included staying in one place for too long.
"Yet what is very different is this is the year I decided to do all the things that I said I would never do. It's a way of coming into a room that I thought was dark and I would be afraid and I actually bring my light to it."
Santana, whose hits vary from "Evil Ways" to "Maria Maria," said he is also working on two upcoming albums.
While the 61-year-old has previously talked about a possible retirement, he's decided to be more careful about predicting the future.
"Every time I tell God my plans he cracks up, he starts laughing. So I just decided to be quiet for a while and not say that I am going to retire and go to Maui and become a minister," he said. "God was cracking up. He thought it was a good joke. So I said, 'OK.' Every time I want to make him laugh I tell him my plans. So we'll see."