Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson: I smoked pot from 2005-2008

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator December 6, 2010
    Gary Johnson

    I climbed Everest. I run triathlons. I fell fifty feet while paragliding and lived. Why would my pot use concern you?

    Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson told the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard that he used marijuana for medical purposes from 2005-2008, before his state had passed a medical marijuana law.

    Johnson has long portrayed himself as someone who has used marijuana.  “I don’t drink.  I don’t smoke pot.  But I have drank and I have smoked pot,” is a line we’ve personally heard the governor use in stump speeches at the NORML National Conference in Portland, the Seattle Hempfest, and the Cypress Hill Smokeout in San Bernardino, just three of the many pro-marijuana events Johnson has attended in support of his “Our America Initiative”.  The Standard interviewed the possible candidate for the Republican nomination for president and became the first journalists to press Johnson on the time frame of his past-tense marijuana references.

    “It’s not anything I volunteer, but you’re the only person that actually asked about it,” says Johnson, who governed New Mexico from 1994 to 2002. “But for luck, I guess, I wasn’t arrested.” Although smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes was illegal in New Mexico until 2007, Johnson says he needed the drug following a 2005 paragliding accident in Hawaii. His sails got caught in a tree, he stalled—and fell about fifty feet straight down to the ground, he says. Johnson suffered multiple bone fractures, including a burst fracture to his T12 vertebrae. “In my human experience, it’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”

    “Rather than using painkillers, which I have used on occasion before, I did smoke pot, as a result of having broken my back, blowing out both of my knees, breaking ribs, really taking about three years to recover,” Johnson says. He explains that painkillers had once caused him to suffer nasty side effects and the pain of withdrawing from the pills was unbearable. So, Johnson says, in 2005 “someone” who cared for him gave him marijuana to deal with the pain.

    The Standard points out that Johnson’s honesty about his illegal medical marijuana use may be a handicap in appealing to Republican primary voters but it may be easier to sell to the typically more-conservative primary voter than his stances on other traditional Republican issues.

    Gov. Gary Johnson and the NORML Board of Directors, NORML CON 2010, Portland, OR

    NORML is a non-partisan organization but our founder, Keith Stroup, has long counseled cannabis consumers to never vote for a politician that wants to treat us as criminals.  The issue of marijuana in presidential politics has been with us ever since Republican Richard Nixon declared drugs “Public Enemy #1”.  We’ve seen pot-friendly candidates when Democrat Jimmy Carter called for federal decriminalization of marijuana in the 1976 campaign through Republicans Sen. Mike Gravel and Rep. Ron Paul calling for an end to marijuana prohibition in the 2008 campaign.  We’ve seen pot-using candidates like Democrats Bill Clinton (who didn’t inhale), John Kerry, John Edwards, and Al Gore (who admit they inhaled), and Barack Obama (who inhaled, frequently, that was the point) and even Republican George W. Bush (who didn’t want the kids doing what he did).

    Gov. Johnson, however, presents us with a potential candidate who is not just pro-decrim like Carter, but actually pro-legalization.  A candidate who not only admits he inhaled like Obama but did so just two or three years ago, after his terms as governor of New Mexico.  The fact that we can have a major presidential hopeful with a legitimate political chance talking openly about legalization and his recent marijuana use shows just how far we’ve come in forty years of marijuana law reform.

    50 responses to “Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson: I smoked pot from 2005-2008”

    1. decondon says:

      I am a prolife Christian conservative disabled veteran, father of three grown children, with two grandbabies. I have been married almost thirty years and do not smoke cigarettes and very rarely drink. I love the Lord and this war on drugs will not work. Our government is protecting the cartels that their laws help create. More and more of my true conservative friends will be following this issue closely and will let our representatives know how we feel and vote them out if necessary. I am praying for freedom to return to our great United States of America.

    2. Mabuda says:

      Im a Republican and id VOTE for him any day,im a Republican and i Voted yes on 19 ya Normal you should do a story on all the Republicans that use or support the use of marijuana,Republicans like freedom and small government,we don’t like killing unborn baby’s or unfairly taxing the rich,but if treated right the right might be what normal needs to win the war on Drugs,anyhow people VOTE for people that will help legalize marijuana

    3. R Duke says:

      Amazing. If only the government could avoid getting in the way of this…

    4. Ck31 says:

      If he runs in 2012 He’s definately getting my vote go Johnson

    5. […] NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform Share and Enjoy: […]

    6. Don says:

      If we get the chance, I’ll be 100% behind Mr. Johnson!!!

      Let’s see if we can make it happen!

      He seems to be someone we can actually trust on this important issue.

    7. Mark says:

      I am an independant. I used to live in New Mexico. When I did , the only time I voted was the first time Gary Johnson ran for gov. I voted for him.

      I never voted again until I voted for Obama – first time I ever participated in a presidential election.

      And Obama has lived up to 99% of his promises. Despite the republicans utter lack of cooperation too!

      But 1% is all I’m concerned about and he FUCKED ME. He went back on his promise to lay off pot smokers, that he supported decriminalization. Then he sends Hold to California and tells them Prop 19 won’t mean shit. We still are going to throw your asses in jail, legal or not. That’s a dictator. That’s a Nazi. Fuck him up!

      Vote for Gary and if he fucks up, FUCK HIM UP!!!!

    8. wade says:

      It is dobtful Ill ever e a chance to ote fo him since I am egitered to vote as a Green and it s unlikely that Johnso will eer become the winer of the Republican party nomination for president. Unfortunately I expect the ightmare senaio to happen: Sarh Palin will get the nomination and will win against Obama. The hoice seems to be against the bad tyrrany of Obama who will (sometimes) not raid medical marijuana dispeneries in states that hav medical marijuana and the even orse tyrrany of Palin or some other drug warrior ho will end the policychace that stoped te raids. I am certain that Palin willbegin th rads immeadiately as soo asshe beomes president. I think the idea th Jhnson wll get the Republican nomination isjust a stoners dream. Still, if I ad a choice in th geeal election between that evi monste Obama and Johnson I would vote for Johnson. The realityhowever sems to me thatwe just barely avouided the nding o the persection of the dispnseries thi election.I thnk that we can ime on a stopwatch the end of the policy that stops te raids on the dispenseries; it will end whe Palin becomes president in january 2013. We only have two years before legal access of cannabis anywhere in the world is ended; The dutch government has banned foriegners fro coffeeshops permanently nd when Palin becomes preesident in 2013 all medcl marijuana patients wil loose access to their medicine. If you live in a medical marijana state and are a patient enjoy for the next two years because it is ending in two years a bad tyrrnny will be relaced by an even wors tyrrany. As for tients in states that have no real medical marijuana access ( this includes New Jersey) the ruling tyrrany says this to patients: suffer, we hate you and love alchohol. As for Gary Johnson he will never win — he is just a stoners dram. As for me by he timethe 20 1 elction rolls around all we will have the chance to vot vote will be thrd party candiates who wllhave no chance of winning. I will vote for the thrd party candidate — it ismy way of denying the America I hate because Amerca is the drg war. There wilbe onlytwo solutions open to us now:overthrow the governent, replace the conttution with one that gauruntees the right of adults to smoke weed, move to Antartica, or mov to an alien planet in another solar sytem where no drug warriors exist. The enemy has partly won in this 2010 election and in 202 it wil complete their victory and start theraids on dispenseries again. Garry ohnson becoming president is a nice drea but I fear realnihmare awaits us; ohnson for peident is a stoners dream; al we have o look forward toi an etrnal dystopiannightmare becase we wil live and die in this pison called Amrica, this prison caled the earth.Only death ill free us fromthe eternal nightmar prison state f th drug warros and their tyrrnical rule.

    9. Jimi says:

      Wow I am really liking some of the comments left here by people who love this country.

    10. Jim says:

      Makes me wonder if Jon Corzine of NJ (gov) did the same thing after his horrific car accident. If so he should come forward; after all, he did sign the medical marijuana bill for NJ in Jan. 2010!