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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gary Johnson for President in 2012: Keeping drug policy reform on the Republican agenda

Canadian libertarian publisher Marc Emery doesn’t trust President-elect Obama on drug policy reform, and wants to see former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 as an insurance policy. Johnson is a tax fighter, a Ron Paul supporter, an opponent of the war in Iraq and, most importantly to Emery, the highest ranking elected official in America to have opposed the war on drugs.

Can Johnson finish the job Ron Paul started and successfully win the Republican nomination for libertarian-conservatives in 2012? Read Marc Emery's column "Gary Johnson for President in 2012" here for the answer.

And here's an excerpt from the column for those of you pressed for time:

If Obama wants to keep arresting African-Americans all day long for pot and drugs, that is unacceptable. If he wants to maintain the status quo and leave us with hollow words like "hope" and "change", then the honeymoon will be over fast. These are desperate, rough times ahead and a soothsayer in the White House, no matter how handsome and acceptably black, is not going to be able to suppress the legitimate aspirations of millions of people in jail or with family in jail because of the drug war. If drug law reform is way down on the list of the Democratic Congress and Obama’s agenda then its not a moment too soon to start considering a mainstream candidate for whom drug-law reform is much higher on the list. That's Gary Johnson.

Gary Johnson smoked pot, enjoyed it, became Governor, served two terms, doesn't smoke pot now or recently, and wants to legalize it. Obama called his pot use a youthful mistake and has recanted, during the 2008 campaign, his 2004 promise to legalize pot.

Nonetheless, I am confident President Obama would probably sign any bill brought before him from Congress that does legalize pot, that's why the new Congress must be lobbied to get on board with the Barney Frank-Ron Paul Marijuana Decriminalization Act. I am more optimistic than ever before about getting drug law reform done with the Democrats and Ron Paul Republicans (Broun, McClintock, Paul, Bartlett, Flake, Rohrabacher) in this next session.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 16, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink

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Comments

"Canadian libertarian publisher" Marc Emery - that's a funny term for drug dealer. You're going to prison, buddy. Have as much fun as your cellmate allows.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-16 8:18:31 PM


Mr Emery also collects Vancouver Canuks hockey shirts..
he will probably be remembered for a long time about that great contribution to the Canadian way of life..

Posted by: 419 | 2008-11-16 8:54:44 PM


Can't trust Obama on drug reform.

Is that because he's a family man who has articulated that the best way for the United States to become an even greater nation is through personal responsibility?

Missed that one, dopers?

Must have been too hung up on the word ‘change.'

You go, Obama.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-11-16 11:05:17 PM


set you free -- "personal responsibility" should mean exactly that -- "personal responsibility."

We should make people to take responsibility for their own drug habits in the same way and for the same reason we should make them take responsibility for their sub-prime mortgages.

We don't put people in jail for spending their money of granite countertops they can't award. But we should let them lose their homes if they don't pay their mortgage.

(I suppose we could make profligacy a crime, but that would be a violation of natural justice.)

So if someone uses drugs irresponsibly, let them face the natural consequences of their own stupidity. Let them lose their jobs, their families, their wealth and self-respect – but leave the state out of it.

Prohibition externalizes the problems associated with drug use from users to non-users.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-16 11:40:44 PM


"Let them lose their job, their families, their wealth and self-respect – but leave the state out of it."

What entity other than the state has the power to do that effectively?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-16 11:53:34 PM


"Let them lose their job, their families, their wealth and self-respect – but leave the state out of it."

What entity other than the state has the power to do that effectively?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 16-Nov-08 11:53:34 PM

Ask alcoholics whose addiction has ruined their lives. It seems to happen to them without being sent to prison.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-11-17 6:25:40 AM


Legalizing pot (and even harsher drugs) are one of the issues with which I must part with my libertarian brethren, though I am open to debate about it. But that's just me; I have a hard time believing that mainstream American conservatives would be willing, at this point, to support such a stand. We have a better chance of unseating Obama without the sidebar distractions such a position would cause.

Posted by: Charles Martin Cosgriff | 2008-11-17 7:51:34 AM


Matthew Johnston wrote: "So if someone uses drugs irresponsibly, let them face the natural consequences of their own stupidity. Let them lose their jobs, their families, their wealth and self-respect – but leave the state out of it."

I think we both know, Matthew, that the chief concern is the fact that in the case of drug addiction, it's very often not just the addict who suffers. And remember, every argument you can make in favour of legalizing pot can also be used in favour of legalizing crack. Pot is just the foot in the door. I know "slippery slope" arguments are logical fallacies, but remember we're dealing with ACTIVISTS here--and when did any activist ever know when to stop?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 8:15:00 AM


Janet wrote: "Ask alcoholics whose addiction has ruined their lives. It seems to happen to them without being sent to prison."

Also without them turning to property crime to feed their habit.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-11-17 8:17:19 AM


Is the cost of even illegally-obtained marijuana so high that it contributes to higher rates of property crime? I'd approach that idea with some skepticism. If, as we're often told, marijuana is not in fact addictive, then there should be no marijuana addicts committing property crimes to raise money for their next fix. That dynamic applies more to those who are addicted to much more dangerous narcotics. While I'm 'open' to arguments that governments shouldn't criminalize substances without clearly showing that those substances cause unacceptable harm, I'm incredibly skeptical about statistics and claims of immense harm caused SOLELY by the enforcement of marijuana laws. I can't help but wonder how how much statistics concerning those "jailed solely for the crime of using marijuana" are inflated by conveniently ignoring what other charges or illegal activities those particular marijuana users were also engaged in. In the real world, how many marijuana users have felt the long arm of the law unless they were ALSO committing other crimes?

Posted by: Anonymous | 2008-11-17 9:35:06 AM


Professor David Nutt of Britain's Bristol University and colleagues proposed a new framework for the classification of harmful substances, based on the actual risks posed to society. Their ranking listed alcohol and tobacco among the top 10 most dangerous substances.
Lancet, March 23, 2007.

Nutt and colleagues used 3 factors to determine the harm associated with any drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug's potential for addiction, and the impact on society of the drug's use.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbituates and street methadone. Alcohol was the 5th- most harmful drug and tobacco the 9th most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th.

Tobacco causes 40% of all hospiatl illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than half of all visits to hospital E.R.'s. The substances also harm society in other ways, damaging families and occupying police services.

If Rob Rammage had smoked a joint before driving instead of drinking alcohol, Keith Magnuson, former NHL'er would still be alive.

So Sad.

When will P.M. Harper institute Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentencing for any alcohol related offence?

Posted by: Jeff Franklin | 2008-11-17 11:16:21 AM


Not once have I ever heard any "pro-pot" activists dissuade people from using their substances. In fact, they say it is a good thing. Alcoholics and smokers don't say that. That is why their side will never win - they can't be taken seriously.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-17 3:24:24 PM


"Not once have I ever heard any "pro-pot" activists dissuade people from using their substances. In fact, they say it is a good thing."

I'm calling BS on that one... I've seen you write this before so just in case it is true, let me change that:

I do not think smoking pot is a "good thing". I think it's rather poisonous, but should be left up to the individual ADULT whether or not to try it. It should remain illegal for children.

There - you can no longer state that you've never heard any "pro-pot" activist say that.

Posted by: joe agnost | 2008-11-18 11:29:36 AM


Too little, too late. Where's the 'personal responsibility'?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-18 11:55:10 AM


"Too little, too late."

That's OK. The point is that now you can't claim that you've never heard a pro-pot guy mention the negatives with smoking it.

"Where's the 'personal responsibility'?"

Where it should be... with the 'person'.

Posted by: joe agnost | 2008-11-18 11:57:30 AM


You people are a menace to yourselves and others. There is not a lick of responsibility among you. You see nothing wrong with what you do, and see no reason to see the strengths and weaknesses in your practices.

If the threat of a year or so clearing garbage from highways, followed by a lifetime of menial jobs fails to deter you, then you're doomed. What a waste of human potential.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-18 12:10:13 PM


"You people are a menace to yourselves and others. There is not a lick of responsibility among you. You see nothing wrong with what you do, and see no reason to........."

Do I know you?? You don't seem to have a problem throwing your assumptions about a complete stranger around... what does that say about YOU?

The same tired rhetoric is all you have to offer...

Posted by: joe agnost | 2008-11-18 12:43:24 PM


Personal responsibility means that you take responsibility for your own actions. I don't see anyone here doing that, therefore the state must intervene. Well done. Emery is a fool, not a hero.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-18 12:52:56 PM


The RAND Institute has done a study showing that treatment is seven times less expensive than encarceration and leads to less drug use.

Imagine the savings of legalizing it and taxing it and using the tax money toward treatment.

That's an economic no brainer right there.

Posted by: Elwar | 2008-12-12 10:05:42 AM



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