This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight: As "The Factor" has been reporting, the medical marijuana ruse has pretty much legalized pot in many places. You may remember we sent a "Factor" producer into a marijuana clinic in Los Angeles and he was able to buy pot with no medical condition whatsoever. Now, last week, California Governor Schwarzenegger said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it time for the state to start legalizing and taxing marijuana use?
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, R-CALIF.: No, I think that it's not time for that, but I think it's time for a debate. I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it. And I think that we ought to study very carefully on what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Well, we have done that here, and it hasn't worked out too well. With us, the head of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Joseph Califano, author of the book "High Society."
OK. I was reading the L.A. weekly newspaper today, and there's a big bunch of ads for marijuana clinics, 35 percent off. Did you know that?
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JOSEPH CALIFANO, CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT, NATIONAL CENTER ON ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: I did not know that.
O'REILLY: Thirty-five percent off you can get it.
O'REILLY: I mean, they're competing with one another. They have little catchy names. So, it — marijuana in California is a quasi-legal substance right now. But the same old argument ensues: Why not? Why not legalize it?
CALIFANO: Look, I will give you three good reasons, Bill. One, we now know a lot more about marijuana than we knew 30 years ago. It's much stronger than it was. We know that it's a dangerous drug. And we know that it is addictive. The head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse says that. We know that it affects motor skills, it affects ability to concentrate. And — and it can provide serious damage of regular use over a long term to the brain.
O'REILLY: What's the difference in the addictive quality between alcohol and marijuana? Is there any?
CALIFANO: I don't know the answer to that. I don't think anybody knows the answer to that.
O'REILLY: But it's...
O'REILLY: It's a psychological, rather than a physical addiction, correct?
CALIFANO: No, there's — there is a real addiction.
CALIFANO: National Institute of Drug Abuse now says there is a real addiction to marijuana...
O'REILLY: So, if you get cut off, you physically are not going to feel well?
CALIFANO: You can. Some — yes, that's right. It can be addictive.
CALIFANO: No. 2, we know that marijuana — people who use marijuana are statistically much more likely to use cocaine or heroin or other drugs. And — and that we found out at our center maybe 10 years ago. But now we know from the brain imaging and all — and all the neurological work that's been done that the way drugs affect the brain, raising dopamine levels, which gives you pleasure, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, they're all very similar. They have a similar impact on the brain. And, No. 3, and most important, it will make this drug more available to kids. Availability is the mother of use.
O'REILLY: Some studies say it's easier to get pot than beer in some places in the United States.
CALIFANO: Well, we — we — it's easy to get pot.
CALIFANO: Kids can get pot.
CALIFANO: But this will make — one, it will make it much easier. And, two, when people start advertising marijuana to sell it, they are going to aim at kids, because, if you don't start using it as a kid, you...
O'REILLY: Well, here's the insidious thing that has happened in San Francisco.
O'REILLY: And our viewers should know this, that you can walk into a San Francisco clinic. You and I could do this today, tonight, if we were in San Francisco, and say, I have got a headache. I have got a migraine headache. And nobody can tell whether you have a migraine headache or not. It's impossible to diagnose a migraine headache. Doctor has to believe you. And the guy right there in the clinic will write you out a prescription, OK? And you can buy as much as you want of the marijuana in the clinic. There is no limit. Now, what the heroin addicts are doing is, they're going to the clinic, they're getting the marijuana, and they are taking it out and selling it to 14-year-olds on the street. This is an industry in San Francisco right now. So, that's what would happen if it were legalized. You couldn't buy it if you weren't 18 or older. But the — the hard-core junkies would buy it and sell it to the kids.
CALIFANO: But wait a minute. This is an important point you are making. We have two legal drugs in this country: tobacco...
CALIFANO: ...and alcohol.
O'REILLY: Alcohol, right.
CALIFANO: OK? We have been utterly incapable of keeping them out of the hands of kids, utterly incapable.
O'REILLY: But the argument is, we can't keep pot out of the hands of kids.
CALIFANO: No, this would make pot much more available. And people — remember, the alcohol industry and the tobacco industry aim at kids. We know that from their ads. We know — we certainly know that. So, that's — that's a very important point.
O'REILLY: That's a big thing. I agree with you. I — I don't want it legalized, but I know I'm going to get a flood of mail from people who say, I — it didn't hurt me.
CALIFANO: And, for Arnold Schwarzenegger, one more point, if I may.
CALIFANO: You know, he wants to tax marijuana. It will be the most expensive tax he ever imposes, because we tax alcohol and tobacco. We get about $35 billion from alcohol and tobacco taxes. Smokers and underaged drinkers and kids who drink too much...
O'REILLY: Far more damage than that.
CALIFANO: ... cost this country over $300 billion.
O'REILLY: I think it's surrender, and I don't think we should be surrendering to that. Good to see you, Joe, as always. Thank you.
CALIFANO: Great to see you.
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