Drug Policy

Gary Johnson, The GOP, and The Marijuana Matter


When I interviewed former New Mexico governor and likely 2012 GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson for a forthcoming Reason magazine feature on California's failed pot-legalizing Proposition 19–Johnson toured the state frequently in support of it–he told me he found even among the traditional Christian Republican middle a lot of keen interest in and little fear of his very public support for legalizing the weed.

Johnson toured Florida this week, and the St. Petersburg Times reported this, which I fear may be more reflective of how the pot issue will play with Republican primary voters:

When told of Johnson's position on legalizing marijuana, Republican Party of Florida chairman John Thrasher, a St. Augustine senator, gave a skeptical "Oh, boy" as a response. Thrasher sounded more enthusiastic about the fact that Johnson was in the state in the first place.

"The presidential campaign has already begun," Thrasher said. "There are people running for president and they're coming here because Florida's going to play a big role."

Reason has covered Johnson extensively.