New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson, the highest-ranking elected official in the land to advocate radical changes in drug policy, is the subject of Playboy magazines January interview. The January issue hit the newsstands Monday.
Johnson's press secretary, Diane Kinderwater, told the Albuquerque Journal that the governor "is not a Playboy reader, and he did hesitate about being in that magazine." But, said Kinderwater, Johnson saw it as an "opportunity to speak to millions of people in his words about an issue he feels strongly about. He was convinced he would be able to reach to a lot of people, not just Playboy subscribers, but people who are policy makers," she said.
In the interview, Johnson once again hit his standard reform themes, telling the magazine: "If we legalized all drugs across the board, we would have a better situation than we have today. If all illicit drugs were available over the counter, things would be better. But that's not what I'm advocating. I think we should start with certain drugs, based on existing models. There are models that exist in this world for the legalization of heroin."
"There is a model when it comes to marijuana. There isn't a model for cocaine, methamphetamines, LSD, and so on. I am not advocating legalization, but I do think we should look into it."
That was apparently too fine a distinction for Playboy's publicity department, which irritated the governor's office with a press release touting the interview. The press release, which went out to a thousand media outlets, said: "Outspoken Republican Calls for Legalization of Drugs 'Across the Board.'"
Kinderwater said the governor objected to the "across the board" language as overstating his position. Playboy subsequently issued another press release with the governor's quote used above.
In the interview, Johnson revisited his own personal drug use history, saying it was limited to cocaine and "lots of pot" in his twenties. He also revealed for the first time that he used marijuana to fend off insomnia and that he has seen friends "do heroin."
"They were never addicted," he told Playboy. "They just experimented with it. So, that's another myth: Everyone who tries heroin becomes an addict."