Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs has defended statements he made about legalizing marijuana, saying legalization could generate revenue for the federal government.

Hobbs  first talked about legalizing marijuana during a chat with members of Hollerado in September. The indie rock band stopped in Thunder Bay as part of their 'Meet the Mayor' tour.

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Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs says: 'Look at the money that governments make off of alcohol.'

"Look at the money that governments make off of alcohol," Hobbs later said to CBC News reporter Jeff Walters in Thunder Bay. "You know, perhaps instead of organized crime getting the profits off of it, the federal government could generate revenues from it."

In each city, the group interviewed local mayors about issues affecting their communities. Hobbs was surprised when his comments went public on a media website in western Canada.

Hobbs said his opinion on the matter reflects his own viewpoint, not that of council or the city of Thunder Bay.

'On the mark'

Vancouver Sun writer and author Ian Mulgrew said the mayor is on the mark. The author of a book on the marijuana trade said legalizing and taxing the drug has more positives than negatives.

"The prosecution of marijuana offences costs us all tens of millions dollars a year," he said. "It gives tens of thousands of Canadians a criminal record."

Mulgrew said he figures marijuana will be legalized in Canada in the next decade.