“No one cares if you smoke a joint of not,” claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger in an interview with chat show host Jay Leno.

The Hollywood actor turned governor of California was discussing the state’s latest referendum on marijuana.

Schwarzenegger signed a law five weeks ago that made possession of up to an ounce of marijuana the equivalent of a traffic ticket. It carries a penalty of no more than a $100 (£62) fine and no arrest or criminal record.

Defending the law to on NBC television’s Tonight Show, Schwarzenegger pointed out that “no one cares if you smoke a joint of not,” according to a transcript.

On election day, Californian voters rejected a further initiative that would have allowed adults aged 21 and older to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana.

Schwarzenegger told Leno the ballot proposal allowing adults to grow their own cannabis went too far.

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