Is the GOP Ready for a Presidential Candidate Who Smoked Pot as Recently as 2008?

Because that's what Gary Johnson has just admitted to, in an interview with The Weekly Standard. Excerpt:

"It's not anything I volunteer, but you're the only person that actually asked about it," says Johnson, who governed New Mexico from 1994 to 2002. "But for luck, I guess, I wasn't arrested." Although smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes was illegal in New Mexico until 2007, Johnson says he needed the drug following a 2005 paragliding accident in Hawaii. His sails got caught in a tree, he stalled—and fell about fifty feet straight down to the ground, he says. Johnson suffered multiple bone fractures, including a burst fracture to his T12 vertebrae. "In my human experience, it's the worst pain I've ever felt."

"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.

There's some other interesting cross-examination (as you would imagine) on Johnson's defense-cutting, troop-withdrawing, anti-nation-building, yet potentially pro-humanitarian interventionism, and then also this:

In one notable break from Ron Paul's foreign policy, Johnson offers rhetorical support for Israel. "I think that we really do have a vested interest in Israel and that we shouldn't walk away from that interest," he says. Johnson also puts distance between himself and the 9/11 Truthers, who found a friendly home in the Ron Paul campaign. "Based on what I know," Johnson says, "no, I don't think the 9/11 report should be reopened, based on my knowledge."

Johnson also comes out as pro-choice and anti-Roe v. Wade (to the point of making it a "criteria" for Supreme Court selections). The interview ends like this:

"The woman that I'm with, and I'm gonna be married to and I'm in love with now—we've been together for a couple of years—she asked me was there anything that she could read to understand what it is or how I thought, and I recommended to her Atlas Shrugged," says Johnson. "I think I view the system the same way that Ayn Rand views the system—that it really oppresses those that create, if you will, and tries to take away from those that produce and give to the non-producers." But, as with most of his views, Johnson's devotion to Rand isn't totally rigid.

"I would like to see the government help out those truly in need," he says. "She [Ayn Rand] wasn't that way."

Reason on Johnson here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Old Mexican||

    "Johnson also puts distance between himself and the 9/11 Truthers, who found a friendly home in the Ron Paul campaign."

    The Weekly Standard's interviewer/journalist did not shy away from turning the spin-machine on.

  • ||

    That's a fair cop. The 9/11 Truthers were welcome in Paul's campaign. The problem with the principle of free association is that the vast majority of voters expect you to use your right to free associate to distance yourself from unsavory types. Fair or unfair, that's the way it is.

    Reason loves drugs, but Johnson's unabashed pro-abortion stances is what's going to cost him the GOP nomination, not what he inhaled.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Johnson's unabashed pro-abortion stances is what's going to cost him the GOP nomination

    The anti-Roe v. Wade thing could help with that.

  • Steve||

    Johnson also comes out as pro-choice and anti-Roe v. Wade (to the point of making it a "criteria" for Supreme Court selections).

    This is an excellent position that has the plus that it falls perfectly in line with where the issue falls (with the public.) Like slavery, abortion will only end with a constitutional amendment. Unlike slavery, advances in science will go a long way in making "unplanned" pregnancies rarer.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Britt,

    That's a fair cop. The 9/11 Truthers were welcome in Paul's campaign.

    Is it fair, Britt? Because there's innuendo in that statement from the Weekly Standard, as if there was something special about truthers besides their distrust of government. There's a lot of people that believe president Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA/The Military Industrial Complex/The Fed (you name it), yet nobody mentions them when they get together to support this or that candidate.

  • ||

    The truthers are nuts. The 9/11 attacks were committed by 19 members of Al-Qaeda. This is a fact. You can argue about to what degree Iraq was a threat, or whether or not the current issue with terrorism is due to American policy. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

    Oh, and the Kennedy conspiracy people are over in the Democratic Party. Having their hero killed by a Communist for being a staunch Cold Warrior was a little too much for the far Left, so they invented a fantasy where racists, industrialists, and other assorted bogeymen killed the handsome young prince.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Britt,

    The truthers are nuts.

    Be that as it may, the fact that they participate in favor of a candidate does not mean the candidate himself or his organization "accepts" the truthers as philosophical equals. Therein lies the innuendo from The Weekly Standard: Why was it mentioned? Why was it relevant? Indeed, the only reasonable purpose was to smear Rep. Paul in order to differentiate him from Johnson, to paint Johnson as less of a kook (in the minds of the Weekly Standard's "journalistic" staff) than Paul.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

    But this is irrelevant to what is being discussed. What was the purpose of mentioning it in the first place?

  • Old Mexican||

    Johnson also comes out as pro-choice and anti-Roe v. Wade (to the point of making it a "criteria" for Supreme Court selections).

    Meaning he's in favor of placing an individual's life in the hands of a different individual, just not the State.

    "I think that we really do have a vested interest in Israel and that we shouldn't walk away from that interest," he says.

    Maybe YOU have a vested interest in Israel. Not with MY money, though.

  • IceTrey||

    What individuals life? The fetus? A fetus depends totally on the mother for survival, therefore it is not an individual.

  • waffles||

    Oh come on, by that definition how many individuals are there in the United States? I know people in their late 20s that have yet to cut the umbilical cord.

  • ||

    That's young by some standards. But then I've lived in California.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: IceTrey,

    A fetus depends totally on the mother for survival, therefore it is not an individual.

    So is a newborn baby, a toddler, a small child - you mean none of them are individuals? None of them have rights? Is independence the sine qua non of humanity, then?

  • IceTrey||

    Anyone can take care of a newborn.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: IceTrey,

    Anyone can take care of a newborn.

    But that is not what you said - now you're trying to fix it with an ad hoc explanation. You indicated that mere dependence precludes a fetus from being an individual. That argument should hold as well for anyone that lacks independence, including quadriplegics, toddlers and babies.

  • IceTrey||

    You do understand that a FETUS is attached to it's mother by an umbilical cord through which it receives ALL the nutrients and oxygen it needs to survive? A newborn breathes on it's own and can be fed by anyone who cares to.

  • Brian||

    Also, let's be clear on what Johnson said:

    In principle, Johnson thinks abortion should be legal in most cases. “I support a woman’s right to choose [abortion] up until viability of the fetus,” he says. Why does viability endow human beings with the right to life? “I don’t personally have a sense that life starts at conception,” Johnson answers intuitively. “I don’t personally have that sense.”

    He's not talking about aborting a fully-developed 9-month fetus. He's talking about pre-viability abortions.

    Anyone who calls a moment-after-conception fertilized egg a person is doing so on a purely religious basis, which is no basis for law in a free society.

    I really hope Johnson runs. As much as I like Ron Paul and Rand Paul and strongly supported their candidacies, I was never thrilled with their anti-choice positions on abortion and immigration.

  • Zeb||

    No, they don't have rights. That is why parents get to make all of their decisions for them.

  • Steve||

    Children do have rights; Their parents are the main protectors of those rights (and maintain power to limit those rights, in some circumstances, as Children have yet to meet the age where full responsibility is legally given to them.)

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Zeb,

    No, they don't have rights. That is why parents get to make all of their decisions for them.

    Delegating decision-making to someone else does not preclude a person from having rights. If that were the case, my boss would have no rights either.

  • Xander||

    A Fetus doesn't have any rights right? That would be idiotic.

  • cynical||

    So, Siamese twins are just one person with two minds?

  • IceTrey||

    The mind is what makes you a person so it would be "one body, two people."

  • cynical||

    But one individual, as they are both dependent on each other's body for survival.

  • Asian Pedant||

    1) the correct term is conjoined twins

    Unless you are referring to the nation in which case the correct term is

    2) myanmarese twins.

  • ||

    schmuck! Siam is now Thailand, myanmar was called Burma

  • fish||

    Trust me Thailand Twins cost extra!

  • Cytotoxic||

    He never said with your money. I love Israel but I don't think the US government should give it money.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Cytotoxic,

    He never said with your money.

    Really? Because that's implicit in his use of "We." Every single time a politician uses "We," I hold on fast to my wallet...

  • Cytotoxic||

    Fair point.

  • Rich||

    Is the GOP Ready for a Presidential Candidate Who Smoked Pot as Recently as 2008?

    1) Ready or not, ...

    2) "If you had another such accident, would you smoke marijuana again?"

  • creech||

    The nerve of this elected official using marijuana to alleviate his painful injuries. Suck it up and feel the pain rather than break the law of the land. Do you think God wanted you to avoid suffering in this life?
    Why do we let anyone use mind altering drugs? In fact, we need to stop giving morphine to soldiers wounded in action . Our laws trump anyone's desire to be pain free!

    Aspirin is the work of the Devil!!!

  • ||

    You know the same people I know, or there's a shit ton too many of them and we're totally fucked.

  • Colin||

    In many ways Johnson is the perfect libertarian candidate.

    If only he could inspire the same kind of passion Ron Paul does. But he's not even close. He's much closer, unfortunately, to Pawlenty.

    I'm afraid his candidacy is gonna be a big dud.

  • ||

    I like Gary Johnson, and would love to have him as the POTUS, but there's no way he'll win the GOP nomination in 2012. Like it or not, we are Palin-Huckabee-Romney bound. God, I hope I'm wrong!

  • Joe M||

    Honestly, I think there will be too much overlap between Palin and Huckabee for both to do well.

  • Cyto||

    Huckabee has the charisma of a tin of head cheese. If this was an odd election he might get the nod. But this is even, so they'll pick a fresh face.

    In 76 they picked Ford, because it was his turn. Dud. Then they turned to a revolutionary, Reagan. Then Bush, because it was his turn. Then Dole, because it was his turn. Then Bush II - semi-revolutionary (but plugged in to the aparatus). Then McCain because it was his turn.

    By the "his turn" criteria it should be Romney - because he bowed out early and let McCain have the clear sailing. But Romney is actually telegenic and could appeal to the middle. Huckabee is not telegenic and is past his sell-by date, so he better fits the GOP "his turn" model.

  • Yonemoto||

    but your analysis suggests that the GOP alternates between his turn and revolutionary.

  • Adamson||

    In '76 they picked Ford because he was the President. He very nearly won.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "God, I hope I'm wrong!"

    Be careful what you wish for. We're talking about the GOP here.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    "In my human experience, it's the worst pain I've ever felt."

    Clearly this guy is copping to past lives. I'm ok with reincarnators in my movies, but not as my representative! He can't understand us single-lifers. GO BACK TO INDIA, JOHNSON!

  • ||

    No, no, no. He's saying he felt worse pain for those 30 years that he spent as a robot, while his human body was being grown. Imagine if the pain of a phantom limb was instead the pain of your phantom body.

  • Ska||

    Imagine the murderous shenanigans one could commit with a whole phantom body!

  • ||

    Interesting. I was not aware that pot was an effective pain killer. I doubt it. And Ayn Rand wasn't against anyone helping anyone else, just against government bureaucrats getting salaries for pretending to help and then using the leverage to increase their power. This guy sounds like a doofus.

  • ||

    Drink!

  • zoltan||

    Ayn Rand opposed the government helping others out. And yes, marijuana is used as a pain-killer. Are you a moron?

  • Fabius||

    Rand was totally against people helping others without a profit motive. I seem to remember Galt insisting on paying $0.25 for the use of Midas' car and getting pretty irritated by the idea of being allowed to use it for free.

  • ||

    Romney will have a hell of a hard time overcoming his support of proto-ObamaCare in Massachusetts.

    What nobody knows at this point is how viable the Tea Party movement will be in a couple of years. If its as big in 2012 as it was in 2010, the Repub nomination could be a hell of a dogfight, with the Karl Rove/establishment wing of the GOP going toe to toe with the Tea Partiers.

  • Stevo||

    Intrade will give you 90-1 odds on him. Still wouldn't take it.

  • Yonemoto||

    consider that inflation will eat away the odds by the time you cash them in.

  • Amakudari||

    Technically inflation is factored into option prices. That is, if we're expecting high inflation, odds should appear worse (lower prices) and then get better as time passes. This is because the receiver of the money has to pay the payer for foregone interest.

    That's all a drop in the bucket compared to how much expectations will change and how ridiculous the Intrade bid-ask spread is, though.

    And now you know.

  • RyanXXX||

    Why do "we" have a vested interest in Israel? If Johnson has such an interest, he's welcome to fund them himself. I have no such attachment to them or any other country

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: RyanXXX,

    I pointed that one out, previously - every time a politician uses the pronoun "We," I hold fast to my wallet.

  • RyanXXX||

    Good policy

  • mark||

    smokin pot

    Cool.

    supportin' Israel

    Mazel tov!

    Ayn Rand

    Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

  • matt||

    -Says nice things about Ayn

    -Cops to having smoked weed

    -Friendly to Israel

    -Ideologically pro-abortion

    -"The government should help those truly in need"

    This is a great platform if you're running for president of Reason magazine, but otherwise, I don't see how it's useful.

    It goes against most of what I believe as a libertarian, it will inspire (justified) loathing from Republicans, and it pales in comparison with Ron Paul.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement