Dem lawmaker calls for legal pot program in Calif. (Video)

California should explore a pilot program of legal, regulated marijuana, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

Sanchez, chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, said that because of her state's receptiveness to more lenient marijuana laws, it would be a good host for an experiment in reform.

"Well, certainly, I have seen in my own state of California people over and over voting a big majority the whole issue of marijuana and possession of that," Sanchez said this morning on CNN. "So maybe it would be a good pilot program to see how that regulation of marijuana might happen in California since the populous, the majority of Californians believe maybe that's should happen."

Taking a page from a number of those who favor the reform of pot laws, Sanchez likened the issue to the prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century.

"Well, certainly there is one drug -- it's called alcohol -- that we prohibited in the United States and had such a problem with as far as underground economy and cartels of that sort that we ended up actually regulating it and taxing it," she said. "And so there has always been this thought that maybe if we do that with drugs, it would lower the profits in it and make some of this go away."

Sanchez's comments come amidst a furious drug war in Mexico between drug cartels. Sanchez's subcommittee would have direct jurisdiction over the American side of the war.

Additionally, the suggestion also comes after the federal government announced it would not prosecute many medical marijuana consumers in California, a change in tone from the Bush administration. The Obama administration also named Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as its drug czar this week.

Watch a video of Sanchez's appearance below: