CANNABIS CULTURE – Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson thinks the biggest problem with marijuana is that it’s illegal.
Appearing on Fox News, the libertarian-minded Republican said outright that marijuana should be legalized and that prohibition is the real problem.
“Ninety percent of the drug problem in the United States today is prohibition related, not use-abuse related,” he said. “That’s where our concentration ought to be, on that 10% abuse. If marijuana were legalized, we would have less overall substance abuse. With regard to all the other drugs, first and foremost we should look at harm reduction strategies and that starts fundamentally with decriminalizing the use of drugs.”
Johnson’s pot comments start at 2:56 in the video below.
Johnson is a long-time advocate of drug prohibition reform, and admitted in a 2001 interview with Reason Magazine that he was once a “chronic marijuana smoker”.
Like a lot of other people, I’ve smoked marijuana. It is what goes on in this country. At the time [the early 1970s], I thought it was a mind-expanding experience, just like a lot of kids and a lot of adults do. Most people who smoke marijuana do it in a way similar to having cocktails in the evening.
In the same interview, Johnson was asked, “if 75 percent of people don’t think [marijuana]should be criminal, why is it such a taboo topic?”. His answer was interesting:
I don’t have the answer. When you ask people, “How many in this room believe that smoking marijuana within the confines of your own home, doing no harm to anybody except arguably yourself, how many think someone belongs in jail for that?,” 90 percent of the room raises their hand to say no, people shouldn’t go to jail for that.
Then you ask how many believe people should go to jail for selling marijuana. Eighty percent of the room believes people should go to jail for selling marijuana. That’s the disconnect. People think it’s OK to do it as long as you are not doing any harm to anyone, but it’s not OK to sell it. But how are you going to get it? They don’t understand who the pusher is. The pusher is just a user who sells a little bit based on their own habit. Nobody is going to the police department and saying, “This person sold me drugs, and I want them arrested.” Everybody is getting arrested because they sold to an undercover agent.
While governor, Johnson claimed to follow his own “Seven Principles of Good Government”:
1. Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others. Find out what’s what and base your decisions and actions on that.
2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It’s extremely difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are willing to tell the truth–regardless of the consequences.
3. Always do what’s right and fair. Remember, the more you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become. You’ve got to learn to ignore your critics. You’ve got to continue to do what you think is right. You’ve got to maintain your integrity.
4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that goal, and then act. Don’t procrastinate.
5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you’re doing knows what you’re doing. Communicate.
6. Don’t hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always time to salvage things. There is always time to fix things.
Henry Kissinger said that anything that can be revealed eventually should be revealed immediately.
7. Last, be willing to do whatever it takes to get your job done. If you’ve got a job that you don’t love enough to do what it takes to get your job done, then quit and get one that you do love, and then make a difference
Johnson was elected for two terms, the maximum allowed in the State of New Mexico, and was considered one of the most successful governors in the Union during the late 1990s. In the Fox broadcast, Johnson was asked if he was planning on running for president. He didn’t rule it out, but said it would be “terribly inappropriate” to discuss the subject so soon after Obama’s election.