Ex-Governor Gary Johnson: “Yes, It Is Time For Pot Legalization, Mr. President”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 2, 2011

    Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is no stranger to marijuana law reform. Johnson was the keynote speaker at last year’s national NORML Conference (listen to his remarks here) and the topic of cannabis legalization is a prominent plank in his Presidential exploratory campaign.

    Today he takes to the Net in response to the President’s artful dodge last week regarding the need to federal drug law reform. And he doesn’t mince words.

    Yes, It Is Time For Pot Legalization, Mr. President
    via Huffington Post

    The Web is humming with stories and discussion from the aftermath of President Obama’s response to questions about drug legalization during last Thursday’s YouTube forum. While his words this time around are a bit more encouraging than previous signals from the administration, I would strongly suggest that we all, including the president, cut through the platitudes and get to the truth about marijuana prohibition.

    If, as the president suggests, it is time for a “serious debate” about legalization, let’s get to it, starting with a few questions that beg for truth:

    Why, with record federal deficits and states teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, are we spending billions on yet another failed Prohibition that is accomplishing nothing other than making criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens and fueling drug cartels that threaten our fundamental national security? Is it not time to try something different?

    Despite lip-service, about the need for treatment, harm-reduction and other strategies to address drug use as a health issue, why do the federal government’s actual policies and budget still treat the situation as almost entirely a law enforcement problem? Let’s end the unworkable marijuana prohibition and put our money where our mouth is. Let’s solve the problems like border crime. We can do it with pot legalization.

    We need to deal with some simple truths. How do we reconcile the fact, that in a supposedly free society, it is legal for a responsible adult to purchase and consume alcohol, while purchasing and consuming marijuana is a crime? I, along with millions of other Americans, are still waiting for a credible answer to that one.

    You can read the full text of Mr. Johnson’s remarks here.

    62 responses to “Ex-Governor Gary Johnson: “Yes, It Is Time For Pot Legalization, Mr. President””

    1. Anonymous says:

      its kind of hard to be president of the world…. yes the world, be pro education, and pro recreational drug use. While yes prohibition is silly. There are much larger issues at hand… Its not that we are better off with legal weed. It comes down to perception. We really need a society that is free of substance. Now what he can do is use his power to back off federal prosecutions, except where necessary. There are a lot of people involved with marijuana trade in America that are criminals and ought to be locked up. Your dealing with drugs and drugs tend to attract people with low morals.. yes that is being general. But what we need to focus on is the local and state levels for creating medical marijuana laws. Yes its convoluted, messy, But i am21 and i dont want the herb i grow to wind up on the streets of chicago for some 10-15 year old to smoke. He needs to focus on school and being social without drugs. And if obama says he believes in legalization(which i genuinely believe) then that will be a signal for every child in america to say ” well the president thinks it okay, so screw you mom and dad.” It would be utterly irresponsible to promote legalization from the mouth of the president. Medical marijuana can put the cartels out of business without creating such a rouse. Unless you can organizes a protest like that of egypt its going to be some time until we get federally legal weed

    2. Aaron D. Allen says:

      Even if recreational use is not legalized having the federal government formally declare that there is an accepted medical use in the United States would go a long way in correcting injustice that the current unfair marijuana laws have created.If there is an accepted medical use in the U.S. than marijuana could no longer be a schedule 1 narcotic which would force lawmakers to reorganize penalties for use and possesion of marijuana. Several government studies have determined marijuana has medical use. It’s time we put our money where our mouth is.

    3. Anonymous says:

      the statement “it is legal for a responsible adult to purchase and consume alochol.” Well first off. most of the alcohol consumers are ignorant irresponsible people. Marijuana has its own negative culture… It has it positives too dont get me wrong. So does drinking.

      But that is a misleading phrase.. How do we determine who is responsible and who is not… Age does not determine responsibility. If these “responsible adults” were so responsible we would not be seeing 20-40k people killed in drunk driving accidents every year. WAY WORSE than 9/11 or how dangerous it is to live in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan combined. We need our troops here at home, locking up irresponsible drinkers.

    4. Erica says:

      One state at a time, if that is what it takes, until it is recognized for what it is…. A PLANT!

    5. ck31 says:

      Yep, Gary Johnson …..Thats all i have to say.

    6. Leonard Krivitsky, MD says:

      The US Government should overcome its own “denial” with respect to Medicinal Cannabis, which can serve as a safe alternativ­e to many pharmaceut­ical chemicals on the market. I believe it is very positive that the President acknowledg­­es the “validity” of this debate. Whenever the validity of the debate is recognized­­, such a “recogniti­­on” invariably implies that our side has a “valid argument”; this being so, it follows that our side (in favor of Cannabis/M­edicinal Cannabis Legalizati­on) has a very real possibilit­­y of winning this “perfectly legitimate debate”, for otherwise it would not be a “debate”. For example, to even suggest that Cannabis Plant has no medicinal properties is not even a “logical” thing to do; as a “recreatio­­nal” substance, Cannabis is incomparab­­ly safer than alcohol! And if all this were not enough, it is scientific­­ally proven that Cannabis use (as opposed to alcohol use) suppresses violent urges and behaviors. All this is true even if the President is “personall­­y opposed” to legalizati­­on (at least for now). But we cannot sit on our butts and passively expect positive developmen­­ts to occur. We must participat­­e actively, write comments at the news articles, write to politician­­s, sign petitions, register to vote, etc. I specifical­­ly urge all the young people to talk to their parents and grandparen­­ts and educate them about Cannabis vs. alcohol and hard drugs. As the logical evidence in our favor inexorably accumulate­­s, the “qualitati­­ve shift” will occur in our common consciousn­­ess, and we will win this “perfectly legitimate­­” debate!

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    8. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Finally a leader and a real Republican. I trust him.
      He can take away the majority of votes away from Obama and win by a landslide.

      Yep I’m optimistic, and it is a great feeling.

      No political trade-offs. The 2012 election will be the best.

    9. dave says:

      hes got my vote

    10. Ray DiPasquale says:

      “When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point.”

      The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.
      Carl Sagan