By David Bienenstock

California elected the wrong thespian. Back in 2003, after local Republican Party operatives manipulated one of the Golden State’s obscure, early-20th-century election laws into a full-blown, three-ring recall circus, the contest quickly devolved into a reality show on wheels as 135 certified candidates made their case directly to the public, crisscrossing the state, cameras in tow, and transforming the race for governor of the globe’s fifth-largest economy into a made-for-TV event. So no wonder an actor named Arnold ultimately took home the crown. But one has to wonder what would’ve happened had the fine citizens of California chosen the real action hero running in that race: Ms. Mary Carey—the porn star with a pothead’s best interests at heart.

“Why doesn’t the government just legalize it?” Ms. Carey asks indignantly early in her HIGH TIMES interview. “When people smoke weed, they don’t get aggressive; they get calm. But when they get drunk, they start fights. If weed was legal, the world would be a happier place.”

Meanwhile, the duly elected Governator sits idly by in his mansion in Sacramento, saying nothing while the federal government raids state-sanctioned medical-marijuana gardens in his own backyard and arrests the state’s citizens at gunpoint for the crime of following California law and providing medicinal herbs to themselves and their fellow citizens in need. Exactly the kind of totalitarian treatment, we assure you, that a Governor Carey would not take lying down—well, okay, maybe that’s an unfortunate turn of phrase, but she has brought to her political platform a fighting spirit and an impressive array of progressive causes, including the legalization of herb, prostitution and gay marriage, a “pistols-for-porn” exchange program, and a comprehensive plan to pay down California’s massive deficit—including a lucrative luxury tax on plastic surgery and an initiative to install Web cams in the governor’s mansion and charge $24.95 per month to watch all the dirty dealings behind the scenes. Naturally, she also supports the state’s medical-marijuana movement and even considers a little girl-on-girl action with Mary Jane to be part of a healthy lifestyle.

“A lot of my friends have prescriptions, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s also a great way for the government to make money, if they’d only sell it in stores and tax it like alcohol,” Carey declares while anxiously awaiting the start of her HT photo shoot. “It’s way better for you than drinking. I think I’m going to stop drinking so much and start smoking more. When I smoke instead of drink, I don’t gain weight. I get the munchies whether I’m drunk or stoned, but at least with smoking you don’t also have the calories from the booze.”

For the record, Carey placed 10th in the recall election, with 11,061 votes—an impressive grassroots movement that she plans to call on for support when she runs again in 2006. So what made the star of New Wave Hookers 7 decide to seek the state’s highest office in the first place?

“The owner of my porn company told me that if I ran for governor, it would be good publicity,” she says. “And because I’m a publicity whore, I said, ‘Okay—let’s do it.’”