Appearing before the California State Democratic convention in Los Angeles, where delegates overwhelmingly endorsed "the legalization, regulation and taxation of pot in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol," Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that the time is now.

In a major shift for the state party, convention delegates approved a plank to the party platform calling for marijuana legalization.

"It's time for all of us to step up and step in and lead once again in California, just as we did in 1996," Newsome said.  "We did just that with medical marijuana."

"But for almost 20 years now, we've sat back admiring our accomplishment while the world, the nation, and states like Colorado and Washington have passed us by. It's time to legalize, it's time to tax, it's time to regulate marijuana for adults in California."

California Governor Jerry Brown recently dismissed the idea of legalizing marijuana , similar to what the states of Colorado and Washington have recently done, worrying, "How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?"

Newsom indirectly addressed Brown, explaining, "This is not a debate about hippies. This is not a debate about stoners. We can't diminish this issue or the people involved in this debate by belittling them and trivializing them."

Newsom added, "Let me be clear. You can be pro-regulation without being an advocate for drug use."

Watch the video below:

[Weed Lady via  Cannabis Culture on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]