Gary Johnson Makes Marijuana Legalization a Key Issue in Campaign For President

CANNABIS CULTURE – The race for the Republican presidential nomination is turning out to be interesting, but not for the reasons you might think. You could even call it historic: two candidates who support legalizing marijuana want to be the Republican choice for president and one of them has used it in recent years for medicinal purposes.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who is currently seeing a surge in popularity, supports legalization of all drugs.

The other, Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and former medical marijuana user, says he’s not afraid to show his support for the legalization of cannabis and has made it one the main issues he supports and openly shares in his campaign.

Johnson was New Mexico’s governor from 1994-2002. During his second term in 1999, he called for full legalization of marijuana and denounced the war calling it “an expensive bust”.

He admitted to using marijuana for medical reasons as recently as 2008, after a 2005 paragliding accident while on vacation in Hawaii. He fell fifty feet straight to the ground, suffering multiple bone fractures including his T12 or thoracic vertebrae, located between the cervical and lumbar vertebrae. Johnson also blew out both his knees and broke multiple ribs. This left him in significant pain and doctors prescribing him dangerous, highly addictive pain pills that were hard to withdraw from and had some nasty side effects. This led him to use marijuana – despite medical marijuana not being legal in New Mexico until 2007 – as he believed it to be a safer, more effective medicine that should be accessible to everyone.

Unlike his peers, Johnson certainly isn’t afraid of displaying his support for the cause publicly, says he is known known in many camps as the “marijuana guy” When asked about his recreational marijuana use from his younger days, he stated “I never exhaled”. Although he faces criticism from other politicians for his view on this issue, he won’t back down; instead he’d rather go to the root of the issue by being sensible and realizing that the war on or marijuana is an endless money pit – with over 800,000 arrests made annually in the U.S – that can’t be won.

He compares this to alcohol prohibition, where after booze was pronounced illegal in the US, there was a surge in crime, mob and gang activity, and a significant increase in violence.

What Johnson realizes that almost every other politician doesn’t is if we treat marijuana no different than alcohol, then we can implement a system that would tax and regulate it in the same manner. When the state and federal governments are cash strapped, a system of taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol could be a big way of helping them generate needed funds. After all, marijuana is the largest cash crops in the US, ahead of corn and soybeans by a long way.

Johnson is now using the marijuana legalization as a key issue at the forefront of his platform.

Last week, he made an appearance at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in downtown LA. There he went before marijuana decriminalization and legalization activists who praised his promise to pardon all people incarcerated for a non-violent marijuana offense. That would include our beloved Marc Emery who is currently incarcerated for selling seeds over the internet to customers in the US. Watch video of his speech.

Johnson sees marijuana users as the largest untapped voting segment in the country and with it now becoming a bigger issue with every year that goes by, he sees major potential in it long term.

His strategy of using marijuana as a political catalyst in the 2012 Presidential race couldn’t have come at a better time. With recent national polls showing 50% support for full legalization, up from just 36% in 2006, support is rapidly growing with more and more people realizing the “war on drugs” to be a war with no end with countless tax dollars being spent.

Although he’s is behind in the polls, Johnson believes the marijuana issue is gaining a lot of traction and recognition and will ultimately help him in the race. It’s become too big of an issue to ignore, especially during an economic recession that shows no signs of letting up.

Next year should be an interesting one for Gary Johnson and the marijuana legalization issue, especially if the voters come out and show him their support.

Read an interview with Gary Johnson from 2010 on Cannabis Culture.



  1. Anonymous on

    yes, it does need to be legalized nationally but taxing it is another matter that needs careful consideration. If it’s taxed, it will still keep the black market for it alive. If it’s untaxed, most users will grow their own or for their friends and it will be largely a non-commercial enterprise which has huge advantages.

    Thus, the creation of a huge ‘profit-motive’ might be avoided. Perhaps our laws that legalize it should limit it to private cultivation and distribution. Much crime could be avoided if there’s no huge profits to be made, and perhaps many lives in Mexico and elsewhere could be saved as well by shrinking the drug cartels.

    I don’t see us being able, at this point, to have it become a large commercial enterprise like alcohol sales – it’s too easy for individuals to grow high quality product and if there’s no massive profit motive, then there would be no big companies as producers and we will all be better off.

    These benefits far outweigh the value of any tax revenues. Not taxing it will eliminate the need for a black market of any kind AND the impulse for ‘corporatization’ of it will be removed (do we really want Dow, Monsanto and Walmart in the marijuana biz when we are already capable of producing top quality and adequate supply ourselves???)…

    We can all win if we do this right. Further thoughts on this??

  2. Jonathan on

    I will be voting for Governor Gary Johnson! Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay rights, Anti war GOP candidate who wants to balance the budget and legalize marijuana! Johnson is also a good steward of tax dollars. He came into office with a huge deficit and left 8 yrs later with a billion dollar surplus. His staff once asked him how he wanted his name read on the state welcome signs. He said Don’t put my name on those signs, If we change them at all put welcome to New Mexico from the citizens of New Mexico so we dont have to spend money to change them in the future. As Governor he raised the speed limit to 75 on the highway and allowed people to buy beer on Sunday saying “this is a choice the people of New Mexico can make for themselves and don’t need the govt telling them on what day they can buy beer.” He understand the proper role of govt to protect you from force or fraud but to otherwise leave you alone unless your actions interfere with the rights of another. Check out Two term(one more than Mitt) Governor Gary Johnson! Dont let the media pick your candidate! Johnson’s socially liberal and fiscally conservative stances will be attractive to democrat and independent voters in the general election, I think he is the man to beat obummer.. Gary Johnson is who we need in the White House. The People’s President!

  3. David762 on

    The Lame Stream Media and Corporatist-controlled political pundits are sandbagging the best Republican presidential candidates most likely to defeat Obama in 2012. The only rational explanation is that ‘socialist’ Obama is owned by the Corporatists as well, and they intend to present a weak Republican with no chance of defeating him. Deja vu, all over again as a repeat of 2008 with the Republican ticket of McCain/Palin. The illusion of vast ideological differences between the majority of Lame Stream politicians of both the Democratic and Republican Parties is a false dichotomy espoused by the Monopoly Capitalists that rule this country — divide the 99% & conquer, by any means necessary.

    The best thing that could happen for We The People is for Representative Ron Paul and former Governor Gary
    Johnson to run in the 2012 election campaign on a 3rd Party ticket; for the Republican Party, not so much; for the Democratic Party, not at all. That is a 3rd Party ticket that could win, and with that win: an end to the USA’s overseas military adventures for empire, an end to the War OF Terror, an end to the War OF Drugs, possibly a contraction of the USA Police State, and an end to the Wall Street Mobsters’ contrived collapse of the global economy. We The People are in a high stakes political ‘poker game’ against the Kleptocrats — it’s table-stakes 5-Card Draw with Aces & Jokers Wild, and not Texas Hold-Them.

  4. Castklearr on

    Ron Paul/Gary Johnson 2012 USA president ticket

    Dr. Paul will take Iowa!