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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 13, 2012


    This past Thursday, on the night of the Vice Presidential debates, NORMLtv caught up with Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Governor Gary Johnson, and asked him questions regarding his views on marijuana legalization. In the interview, he discusses what he would do in regards to the war on cannabis if he were elected, why politicians are hesitant to back reform measures, and how he got into the issue while serving as New Mexico’s governor.

    The governor is optimistic with the progress made and sees the issue of marijuana legalization reaching it’s tipping point.

    “We’re on the verge of making legalization happen,” Governor Johnson stated.

    You can view the full interview and read the text transcript below:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDnGtySEd1g[/youtube]

    Erik Altieri: I’m Erik Altieri, Communications Director for NORML and i’m here with Governor Gary Johnson, libertarian candidate for president.

    Gov. Gary Johnson: Erik, good job and where we’re on the verge of making legalization happen and it’s going to be Colorado.

    EA: What I want to talk about today is, around 1999, you first came out publicly for marijuana legalization, is something you believed for a long time, was there an impetus to make it public?

    GJ: You know I grew up smoking marijuana so that as a preface, what i understood right off the bat was that in no category was marijuana more dangerous than alcohol, that it was a terrific alternative to alcohol. Back in 1971, I, in my wildest dreams did not believe that it would still be illegal, that it would still be criminal, that people would still be going to jail 40 years later. And that’s what we have here.

    So, when I launched into legalizing marijuana, I just wanted to take a really hard look at the war on drugs and I wanted to include legalization as a potential alternative. I had no idea the compelling argument that goes along with legalizing marijuana. So since 1999, it took about a couple weeks, and it wasn’t that it took two weeks, right off the bat I’m finding statistic after statistic after statistic that would suggest legalization was a much better alternative, and of course that had to do with Holland at that time, since then Portugal has added a lot of fuel to that.

    EA: As you know, tonight is the Vice Presidential Debate, they’re probably not going to talk about drug reform. Why do you think that is? And if you have a spot on the stage what would you like the american people to know about marijuana legalization?

    GJ: Well that 90% of the drug problem is prohibition related, not use related. And that is not to discount the problems with use and abuse but that should be our focus.

    So i think we’re at a tipping point on this issue and the reason we’re at a tipping point on this issue is ’cause everybody’s talking about it, finally. The more we talk about these issues the better. Why don’t we extend this to a whole lot of issues we are facing in this country right now like spending and entitlements and the endless wars we find ourselves intervening in.

    EA: What would voters expect to be done on the drug war in the first year or so of a Johnson presidency?

    GJ: Well you’d see…of course if i’m elected who has the wind at their backs and what are the people of the United States shouting at Congress? We want meaningful drug reform and that starts with decriminalizing drugs, it starts with legalizing marijuana.

    EA: Would you be looking to descheduling marijuana?

    GJ: I’m promising to deschedule marijuana as a narcotic. I’m promising to set up a process for pardoning individuals who have been convicted on victimless non-violent drug crime. I’m also promising to set up a system of review for everybody that is currently incarcerated for those same reasons and would commute those sentences.

    EA: As you probably know, legalization polling over fifty percent, and decriminalization in the sixties, medical marijuana in the seventies

    Yet, there are few politicians, other than perhaps yourself, Barney Frank, Ron Paul, come to mind, who are openly embracing marijuana legalization and marijuana law reform.

    Why do you think they’re so hesitant to put their foot in the water, despite this polling data, which politicians usually live or die by?

    GJ: It is the root of all evil, the root of all evil are politicians that want to get elected or reelected and in the name of getting elected or reelected this is the opinion when it comes to marijuana legalization, these are people with their heads in the sand. They’re running for offices, that they’re supposed to be providing leadership, well they’re providing no leadership what-so-ever on this issue, or on any issue for that matter.

    EA: This is Gary Johnson, he’s the former two-term Governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian for president this year. Check him out at www.garyjohnson2012.com and thank you so much for talking to us.

    GJ: And NORML, you rock. You rock.

    Learn about the all the other presidential candidates’ views on marijuana reform, as well as all the ballot initiatives in play in this fall’s election by checking out NORML’s voter guide, Smoke the Vote.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 12, 2012

    The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has just released a new radio ad in support of Colorado’s Amendment 64, which aims to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

    The ad, which will be airing on terrestrial radio as well as Pandora in the state of Colorado, features Melissa Etheridge relating her personal journey with marijuana. Through her experience of medical use during her struggles with cancer, Melissa realized the positive aspects of the plant and the dire consequences of the war on drugs and is now calling for legalized and regulated cannabis, which starts with voting YES on Amendment 64 this fall.

    You can check out the radio ad with Melissa Etheridge below, in addition to the campaign’s latest television ad, which is currently airing across the state. To learn more about the campaign, visit their website here.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4UmVguKe_A[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KAOq7XX2OY&feature=plcp[/youtube]

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 10, 2012

    New Approach Washington, the campaign behind Washington State’s marijuana legalization initiative (I-502), has just released two new television ads that began airing today. What makes these advertisements even more notable is that they both prominently feature former federal law enforcement officials. The importance of this is perfectly summed up by former NORML Board Member and writer for Washington’s “The Stranger,” Dominic Holden:

    This is a big deal: The new ads for Initiative 502 that begin airing today, which encourage Washington to become the first state to legalize marijuana, star former federal law enforcement.

    I know—if you watch politics around here, you know they’re on board and their endorsement seems… banal. Don’t be jaded. Former US Attorneys John McKay and Kate Pflaumer, along with the FBI’s Charlie Mandigo, make the most persuasive case for legalization: Pot laws result in using limited law enforcement resources that should instead be focused on violent crime.

    Every time that pot legalization—even decriminalization—has gone to voters in other states, federal law enforcement have delivered the coup de grace, largely by virtue of their credibility. This time, it’s the opposite. These prosecutors and an agent get in the first word for legalization, and with $1 million in the bank and up to $2 million more on the way, the New Approach Washington campaign is going to hit this message hard. This is a coup.

    SOURCE

    You can view the new TV spots below. Please share as widely as possible with your friends and family. Together we can end marijuana prohibition, let’s Smoke the Vote in November. Previous polling for I-502 in September had support for the effort at 57%, help us keep up the momentum going into election day by educating everyone you know about the importance of cannabis reform in the 2012 election. You can learn more about these initiatives and the presidential candidates’ statements on marijuana by reading NORML’s voter guide available here.

    YES ON I-502!

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf9XPlRRvxE[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWr0neESf-M[/youtube]

    You can visit the campaign’s website for more info here.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director September 7, 2012

    Judge Richard Posner serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, he also wants marijuana to be legalized.

    During a September 6th speech at Elmhurst College, the federal judge lambasted the war on cannabis. “I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have,” proclaimed Posner to loud applause, “I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana.”

    Posner went on to state that our drug laws are “a waste of a lot of high quality legal minds, and it’s also a waste of people’s lives who could be as least moderately productive with having to spend year after year in prison. That is a serious problem.”

    We here at NORML couldn’t agree more and applaud Judge Posner for having the courage to speak the truth from his high ranking position and for setting a bold example for his colleagues. You can view the entirety of his speech below:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhBBV0aI7lM&list=PL14615B34D2AB9797&index=1&feature=plpp_video[/youtube]
    (Comments pick up around the 53 minute mark)

  • by Sabrina Fendrick September 4, 2012

    STREAMING LIVE

    9/4/2012 at 5:30pm

    Watch Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, former special agent Jamie Haase, and southern rock artist Greta Gaines as they speak live on behalf of North Carloina NORML to raise awareness and support for ending marijuana prohibition at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.


    Live video by Ustream

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