Debra J. Saunders

His new leaf on marijuana could be politically brilliant. As Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, noted, "he's a smart politician." Newsom wants to get out front on the issue. "He knows that it's not a political third rail. It's a political benefit."

In February, The Field Poll reported that 54 percent of Californians support legalizing and taxing marijuana.

In 2010, Newsom was part of the Democratic pack. None of today's statewide officeholders -- not Dao Guv, not great-looking Attorney General Kamala Harris, not Sen. Barbara Boxer -- supported Proposition 19. All three, however, stressed their support for medical marijuana.

For the record, I voted for Proposition 19. I agree with what Newsom now will say publicly: Marijuana prohibition is a failed policy.

With 2014 and 2016 on the horizon, Newsom is California's first statewide officeholder to advocate legalizing marijuana. Bet he won't be the last.

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Debra J. Saunders

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