Amid all the flip-flopping and dissembling of the 2012 election, it comes as a bit of a shock to hear one of the presidential candidates say that his interest in politics stemmed from the first time he smoked dope. But then there is much about Gary Johnson, the Libertarian party's nominee for the White House, that is strikingly out of the mould.
"I think marijuana played a role in my libertarianism, because when in 1970 I smoked it for the first time I realized that everything the government said about it was a lie," he said. "You know, you smoke marijuana, you're going to go crazy, you'll want to commit crime, you are going to go to the depths and never return … None of that was true."
From those teenaged dope-smoking beginnings, Johnson, now 59, went on to become a successful businessman and a Republican governor of New Mexico, and is now seeking to carry the libertarian flame lit by Ron Paul during the primary election season into November's presidential race. It's true that he and his Libertarian party are relative minnows in an election cycle dominated by big corporate money – he has raised just $2m for his presidential campaign compared to the hundreds of millions being poured into Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's campaigns.