Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Truth About Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson And The Legalization Of Drugs

On May 5th, 2012, the Libertarian Party nominated perhaps the most credible presidential candidate ever to spring from its ranks. Former New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson earned the party's nomination on the first ballot with over 70 percent of the vote. His running mate is former California Superior Court Judge Jim Gray. Alaskans who want Gary Johnson to appear on the ballot in November might want to take note that the Alaska Libertarian Party says they need 57 more registrations before June 1st, otherwise they won't be allowed to field candidates in the August primary, which means no candidates in November.

What increases the credibility of Johnson's candidacy is that he is a former chief executive. He was the Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, both times winning by 10 percentage points. Johnson was a champion of smaller, right-sized government; in fact, he used his gubernatorial veto 200 times during his first six months in office alone in order to stop the incessant growth and stem the escalating costs of government.

But none of that mattered when he set out to seek the Republican Presidential nomination in 2011. Virtually no one took him seriously, particularly the co-opted stooges in the national elite media, and he remained mired in single-digit country. Finally, he decided to re-direct his efforts towards the Libertarian Party and give them the credible standard bearer they've lacked for a long time.

But Johnson continues to be marginalized by the elite because he has questioned the War on Drugs and discussed legalization of marijuana. Thus he has acquired the reputation of being "soft" on drugs. But is this really true? Let's go directly to the source -- his official campaign website. Yes, he does want to legalize marijuana -- and here's why:

Note that Gary Johnson merely advocates the legalization of marijuana, and NO OTHER DRUGS. And since we're not winning the War on Drugs, maybe its time to redefine the parameters. Marijuana is clearly not as dangerous as and does not produce the additional social problems of other recreational drugs. Meth contaminates homes -- marijuana doesn't. People rob and mug to get money for other drugs. but rarely, if ever, to get marijuana. When meth and crack addicts are deprived of their drugs, they're driven to desperation -- not so for marijuana users. This shows that we can amputate marijuana from the War on Drugs and redirect more resources to concentrate on the more dangerous drugs. And in reality, Johnson is not necessarily promoting marijuana; he merely wants to end the federal mandate against it and allow each state to pursue its own policy, in keeping with the spirit of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Gary Johnson may be sensible on drugs, but he's not soft on drugs.

Of course, ending the federal mandate against marijuana should not interfere with the right of states and employers to apply restrictions to its use. For example, states need to remain fully empowered to sanction driving under the influence of marijuana on public highways, lands, and waterways. Employers need to remain fully empowered to control or prohibit marijuana use by current employees, to deny employment to those who currently use marijuana, and to impose drug tests to ensure compliance by employees. And public jurisdictions, HOAs and landlords need to remain empowered to prevent any public nuisances associated with the use of marijuana from arising in their neighborhoods and on their properties.

I don't intend to support Gary Johnson, because the most important task is to get Barack Obama out of the White House, and if Mitt Romney prevails over Ron Paul at the Republican convention, Romney will be best equipped to defeat Obama. Nevertheless, like every other candidate, Gary Johnson deserves to be accurately represented, and, more than anything else, that's the purpose of this post.


  1. I appreciate how accurately you represent so many of the topics upon which you comment--including Gary Johnson's candidacy. Thanks.