Gary Johnson: Obama Doesn't Care About The War On Drugs

CHARLOTTE – Nobody at the Democratic National Convention is talking about the war on drugs, so the North Carolina NORML affiliate decided to host its own event early this evening in one of the permitted outdoor free speech areas.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, not one to shy away from criticizing American drug policy, was the big draw of the rain-soaked event. Johnson touched on his early experiences with marijuana as well as his efforts to change the prevailing attitudes on drugs while governor of New Mexico. He pointed to marijuana ballot question in Colorado as something that he thinks could be a sea change in how marijuana is viewed in the United States.

“In 1970 I smoked marijuana for the first time and when I smoked it for the first time I discovered that everything the government had said about marijuana was a lie,” said Johnson, accompanied on stage by a longhaired man holding an umbrella for him.

Johnson said he deeply believes that the war on drugs is one of the biggest issues facing the country. He calls it a “front burner” issue. In some ways the issue of drug legalization is personal for Johnson as his marijuana usage was brought up as an issue during his initial run for governor.

“They asked me the question ‘had I ever smoked marijuana?’ Yes, I had smoked it and I had never exhaled when it came to marijuana. There was  lot of conjecture. Did I have a drug problem? No. Had I ever been in rehab? No. Were you remorseful for smoking marijuana, was this just a youthful indiscretion? No,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd of around 40 in attendance.

The ballot initiative in Colorado that would legalize possession of an ounce of marijuana for people over the age of 21 is something Johnson is optimistic about. “Colorado will be the first but how will this impact the other states? Well when all the other states get on a plane to Denver on a Friday to chill out that’s when the rest of the country will fall in line with rational drug policy,” he said.

Johnson did not challenge the drug policy of President Obama or Mitt Romney nor did he mention them by name during his short six minutes speech.

Rachel Wilson, 19, a student the University of North Carolina and a member of the NORML chapter there said she plans to vote for Obama this fall even though his record on the drug war is less than optimal. “You know I think Obama is a great guy and will be reelected and I think his time for change is another four years in office,” she said.

In an interview in the pouring rain after his speech Johnson said that the idea Obama will change course on drug policy in a second term is foolish.

“That’s baloney. How does he turn his back on cracking down on medical marijuana facilities in his first term when he promised he wasn’t gonna do that? And he was elected on all of the promises he was made but that was one of them,” he said.

When asked if he thinks Obama, an admitted drug user, cares about the war on drugs, Johnson replied, “Apparently not. I’ll tell ya, I have never been guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to this issue,” Johnson said. 

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  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Obama Doesn't Care About The War On Drugs

    Wrong. He cares a great deal in furthering it.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    He calls it a “front burner” issue.

    I see what he did there.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Also, those idiots are so stoned, they misspelled "NORML" as "NCRML". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    /derp

  • WWNGD?||

    Y.B.NORML?

    /derpy-derp

  • sarcasmic||

    “In 1970 I smoked marijuana for the first time and when I smoked it for the first time I discovered that everything the government had said about marijuana was a lie,”

    When has the government ever told the truth about anything?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    When has the government ever told the truth about anything?

    When Reagan said that the scariest 9 words one could hear is "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

  • WWNGD?||

    That wasn't the government, that was a Reagan quote. Reagan still went on to grow government.

  • sarcasmic||

    But, but, but that wasn't Reagan's fault! He had a Democratic Congress! And he won the Cold War! Reagan was so fiscally responsible that, following his example, I pay my mortgage with my credit card!

  • wareagle||

    Reagan was no messiah but tell me that you wouldn't trade today's economy for that of the 80s.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't give Reagan credit for the economy of the 80s. He just happened to be in office at the time.
    By some estimates our current economy will overcome government impediments and start to actually bounce back in the neighborhood of 2015, regardless of who is living in the White House.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Observing GJ give a speech is evidence the government might not have been lying about marijuana after all.

  • SIV||

    Zing!

  • Rich||

    a member of the NORML chapter there said she plans to vote for Obama this fall even though his record on the drug war is less than optimal. “You know I think Obama is a great guy and will be reelected and I think his time for change is another four years in office,” she said.

    "What's she been smoking?"

  • mad libertarian guy||

    "What's she been smoking?"

    Mostly Maui Waui, but there has to be some unicorn in it.

  • wareagle||

    wow...if anything, that statement does more to defeat legalization than advance it.

  • Joe R.||

    If she wants to know why the drug war isn't being discussed at the DNC...that's why.

  • Fluffy||

    Moving to Honduras, bitches.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-20.....xperiment/

    BTW, thanks, Reason, for keeping us informed on these developments.

    Maybe next time you can skip one of the seasteading articles and send your crack reporters out to find out about stuff like this?

  • sarcasmic||

    Stop stealing my morning links!

  • Fluffy||

    I dug around this morning to find out who's behind it, since the AP article couldn't be bothered to include that information.

    Apparently it's some Canadian porn king.

    So this shows both great promise and great danger.

    Porn king = great promise

    Canadian = uh oh

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I like the idea, but there is no fucking way I'd move to Honduras.

    It's hot as fuck.

  • Fluffy||

    But apparently you get to take away the land of indigenous* people if you go.

    *The funny thing is that the Garifuna are descendants of runaway slaves, so they aren't actually indigenous. But don't let that stop you, AP.

  • Calidissident||

    The Garifuna are mixed descendants of runaway slaves and Amerindians. If their land is being taken regardless, I oppose the project, but if not it sounds kinda cool.

  • Jerry on the road||

    Nothing says private city more than a bunch of body bags the AP editor must have thought.

  • Rich||

    Obama Doesn't Care About The War On Drugs

    Well, the government says smoking marijuana makes you apathetic.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You know I think Obama is a great guy and will be reelected and I think his time for change is another four years in office[.]

    Jesus Fucking Christ.

    He's swell and looks to win, therefore I'm gonna vote for him. I'm so totally not a sheep.

    /Rachel Wilson

    What the fuck are they teaching over at Chapel Hill? It certainly has nothing to do with evaluating people and their capability/willingness to do a job based on their previous actions doing said job. She's still expecting unicorns.

  • WTF||

    She knows Obama was thwarted by the evil rethuglicans. It'll be different this time around, really.

  • WWNGD?||

    Don't worry, her vote will be canceled out by someone who thinks that even thought he is not good on everything Romney is great guy.

  • Lord Humungus||

    It can't be repeated enough, but Penn Jillette said it best:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWWOJGYZYpk

  • Ramjet||

    +1000

  • sarcasmic||

    He says Obama has a beautiful wife, and I'm supposed to believe him when he says he's never smoked anything?

  • Mensan||

    Penn said that Obama wouldn't have a beautiful wife if he had went to prison. You can infer that Penn was implying that Obama does have a beautiful wife since he did not go to prison, but he never actually said that.

  • SIV||

    In an interview in the pouring rain after his speech Johnson said that the idea Obama will change course on drug policy in a second term is foolish.

    So after GayJay gets those college dopers all fired up about voting for Obama so he can legalize weed in his second term he walks it back to the reporter.

  • Lyle||

    Obama doesn't care about black America. The undocumented and police unions before black America.

    Nigga pleaaaaassssssssssse stop this. It's embarrassing that Gary "I built it" Johnson from New Mexico has to tell you this. You community organized in colored Chicago. You've seen first hand the problem. Yet, you're still stuck on stupid.

    I want to spank you Obama; I want to spank you silly.

  • Regina||

    Perhaps an education in English is in order.

  • Lyle||

    Oh please grammar me up Regina.

  • FreeLibertine||

    What I really want to know is, does Gary Johnson want to legalize LSD and other psychedelics?

    There should be some NORML type group for LSD.

  • JD the elder||

    Yeah, but it would probably be called, "National Organization For, For, Uh, Oh Wow, Look At That, HOLY SHIT I AM A MILLION MILES TALL". (What can I say - drug jokes write themselves, that is unless they're written in letters of whirling fire by an infinitely wise cat-faced god-man.)

  • BoscoH||

    “Colorado will be the first but how will this impact the other states? Well when all the other states get on a plane to Denver on a Friday to chill out that’s when the rest of the country will fall in line with rational drug policy,” he said.

    Frontier Airlines needs to put Gary Johnson on one of their tails!

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Making drug legalization a cornerstone of his campaign is GJ's way of saying "I give up". Yes, a lot of folks on the internet bring it up, but the people who VOTE by and large don't think it's that big of an issue. The cops just haven't inconvenienced enough white people, yet.

  • NeonCat||

    Yes, he totally stood a chance until he brought up legalizing weed.

  • Colleen McCool||

    The tobacco, alcohol and prescription drug gangs cause more death annually than all illicit drugs! It is morally bankrupt to punish nonviolent adults for making a safer health choice, cannabis or marijuana, compared to other medicinal/social drugs. Less than 1% of US are actually addicted to anything. Treatment is seven times cheaper than prison. Show fiscal responsibility, demand morally correct policy!

    Obama and Romney have forsaken the American Dream. A declaration is an affirmation. Independence means self-government. They could have called The Declaration of Independence, The Affirmation of Self-Government!

    Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray are the only choice to Save the American Dream: Self-Government, freedom from big government tyranny and oppression.... and to Restore Justice, the guardian of Liberty!

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