Gary Johnson's Medical Marijuana Use: Why it Matters

When I first saw the headline yesterday that former New Mexico Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Gary Johnson had smoked marijuana as recently as 2008, I admit I rolled my eyes. Would his strong pro-reform message be maligned as the predictable position of a pothead-for-president? My concern changed to excitement when I read that he'd used marijuana for pain relief following a horrific paragliding accident:

“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. [Weekly Standard]

The distinction is significant given that leading candidates in the Republican primaries have a rich and hideous history of defending the arrest of medical marijuana patients. McCain, Romney, and Giuliani all took heat during the New Hampshire primaries after viral videos captured their callous positions on medical marijuana. If bad press didn’t teach them a lesson, maybe Gary Johnson will.

Obama's meek support for medical marijuana has been anything but a political liability, earning criticism only from those who'd like to see a more formal federal withdrawal from the war on patients and providers. But that could change when Republicans hit the campaign trail looking for ammunition. Candidates will surely face the question of whether they'd continue Obama's policy of restraint with regards to federal prosecutions in medical marijuana states, and if contradicting state's rights and public opinion were uncomfortable positions for leading Republican candidates before, imagine how they'll feel with an actual patient on stage beside them with a microphone of his own.

Johnson's medical use creates a unique opportunity to bring personal experience into the discussion and powerfully expose the cruelty and ignorance of any opponent who dares to defend arresting sick people. This could play out any number of ways, but if I were Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, I'd already be worrying about how to handle the situation. When it comes to medical marijuana, Gary Johnson will enter the debate with the American people on his side, and he has everything to gain by going on the offensive early and often.

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

He's Got My Attention...

Given the vast majority of Americans do indeed support physician-prescribed or physician-recommended use of cannabis, it is so refreshing to hear a politician -- especially a presidential hopeful -- share the truth about their medical use, instead of betraying patients and medicine by perpetuating the same old reprehensible lies.

I have already read the Weekly Standard article, and I am going to find out more about Gary Johnson. He’s got my attention by being honest and logical, instead of being hysterically afraid of -- or pretending to be afraid of -- an ancient healing plant that is a Godsend for millions of patients/people all over the world.

Thanks for the article, Scott. And thank you SO MUCH Gary Johnson for sharing your personal medical history. I firmly believe you’ll turn heads and win votes with continued honesty and insight on this issue.

Pres. 2012

If Pres. Obama smirk`s off Cannabis legalization question`s in 2012 as he did in 2008, then watch the vote`s  go elsewhere. Any stable minded human knows that Cannabis prohibition is simply an " act of lunacy ". How many vote`s could Johnson take from Pres. Obama ? Expect full-blown legalization real soon. Sooner than you may think. The U.S.A. war against Cannabis will die like a Nazi in 1944 Berlin. Swift and decisive. 

A Really Honest Human Being

Very different of other politicians,because he is honest and decent.

What to say about liars like:




Can you buy a used car from this people?

Cannabis Law flauted

Mr Gary Johnson's position as a former elected official indicates he knows the law.  Drug laws were broken, and he and his supplier are not above the law.  Crimes committed in 2008 are not past the statute of limitations.   This sort of 'in your face' defiant admission must be met with the full force of brute law!  He and his drug dealer friend must be hunted down and brought to justice.  All assets used in the commission of these several crimes  must be seized (cars, homes, land, related literature, and all bank accounts with proceeds of the the crimes), thusly hindering Mr. Johnson from promulgating his illegal opinions.   Drug court may be too good for these vociferous scofflaws, but at least their stated opinions may be forced back to the realities of the evilness of all illegal drugs and their insidious side effects!   All the better if they could be shown to resist arrest and and shot dead. 

I hope

people recognize sarcasm when they see it -- this IS sarcasm, right?

Johnson Rules

I only wish I had a realistic chance to vote for a man like Gary Johnson for president.

Andrew Sullivan sounded like he was rolling his eyes as well when he posted on this, but I think this is actually a pretty big moment.  Here we have a politician -- a Republican -- admitting to marijuana use not as a "youthful indiscretion," not as a wink-wink joke about inhaling, but as an informed and responsible adult decision for which he takes full responsibility.  It's a more specific and forthright discussion by a politician about personal marijuana use than I can remember seeing before, from either side of the aisle.  Hell, even Libertarians tend to shy away from that level of candor.

I must be dreaming --

I thought I just read about a politician with the huevos to stand up and say, "Yes, I used marijuana.  No, it was not a youthful mistake.  Yes, I inhaled.  And no, I will not apologize."

Johnson's track record

Gov. Johnson's presidential bid should focus on his strengths of revising the economy. As Governor of New Mexico he has an excellent record of fiscal responsibility and leaving New Mexico with a surplus budget after both of his terms. While I'm thrilled to see him running in 2012, I suspect his Republican opponents(and the media) will try to marginalize his campaign as the legalization candidate. If Dennis Kucinich and Alan Keyes can participate in the presidential debates, Johnson should be able to find a way to have a seat in the process as well.  

Johnson's Candidacy

The Republican establishment will no doubt try to paint Johnson as a pot-smoking, law flouting, fringe candidate during the primaries.  To a certain degree, they're right in that he is a fringe candidate as he is the only potential candidate who has a proven track record in line with the Republican creed of small, limited government.  His tenure in New Mexico functions as a case study for the implementation of that creed.  He vetoed 750 bills, cut the number of government employees and managed to cut taxes.  While many of the other candidates position themselves as proponents of limited government, they support the continuation of the failed War on Drugs, which inevitably, leads to bigger government.  If Republicans were smart they would promote not just financial liberty, but personal liberty and embrace Johnson as the flag-bearer of these principles.  Otherwise, it's going to be more of the same. 

I've got to get in touch with this man . . .

I've got to get in touch with this man.  I want to help him.  I have not supported a republican for a long time.  Doesn't matter.  I am definitely interested in Mr. Johnson.

But really, an honest politician?  How far can he get before the system chews him up and spits him out?  Is it even REMOTELY possible for an honest person to get elected to a national office in these corrupt times?

I've been dealing with severe neuropathic pain.  Cannabis is the only medication that stops the neuropathic pain episodes.  It even stops the serious neuro pain seizures.  It feels like a miracle when I smoke and the pain literally stops!!!

I just recently discovered that cannabis may be protecting my neuronal system from further damage while I meet with experts at Swedish Hospital's Neurology Institute to discuss my situation and wade through their expert opinions so I can decide how to best eradicate/deal with the pain, both the regular and the neuropathic pain.

Here's a link to the NMSS Expert Opinion Paper which discusses some very promising findings about cannabis's neuroprotective qualities --


The name says all klepto=kleptomaniac.

Uninformed stupid or average politician?


Please look up Johnson on

Please look up Johnson on Facebook and join his growing list of supporters. I think if he gets to the debates the campaign will have done its job as Ron Paul's did in 08, and will happily help fund his campaign.

For one, i'm glad to see a reformer anywhere but on the far left, and as a libertarian myself it's frustrating having to choose between "gun grabbing", pocket-picking welfare/warfare statists and globe-trotting, life-meddling christofascists. Johnson's about just plain freedom, and if that's an anachronism then by all means turn back the clock. pre-1911 at minimum, to nip forced schooling and the Fed in the bud while we're busy flogging the Temperance Moms in the public square like the neurotic harlots they are..

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School