Election 2016

But How Would You *Know* if LP Prez Nominee Gary Johnson Used Pot?

The short and honest answer: Only if he told you. Not all pot users are stoned out of their gourds all the time.

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Last week, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and his running mate William Weld held a press event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Here's part of what they discussed, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

[Press Club President] Thomas Burr: …Do you worry about being perceived as a spoiler to the major party candidates such as Ross Perot in '92 or Ralph Nader in 2000?

Gary Johnson: I will lose no sleep if that is the label given to me, and I will reiterate; this is a party that needs crashing.

William Weld: What's to spoil?

Mr. Johnson: What's to spoil? (Applause) . . .

Mr. Burr: Governor Johnson, we've had several questions submitted about this, so I'm just going to ask it. When was the last time you smoked or ingested marijuana?

Mr. Johnson: I did this about two months ago, it's been about two months. And when you tell the truth, really, you don't have anything to fear. I've always maintained that you shouldn't be on the job impaired. Well, as of two months ago, really this is a 24/7 job running for president of the United States. And as president of the United States, that is also a 24/7 job. So, in my lifetime, I think I have more than demonstrated my ability to be self disciplined. I haven't had a drink of alcohol in 29 years. I wasn't an alcoholic, it had everything to do with rock climbing and the immediacy of rock climbing and being the best that you could possibly be. But this is the truth component that I think is really also lacking in politics.

Who would know that I ingested marijuana products two months ago? My best friends. And if I'd have said, "Hey, I don't use it, or I haven't used them," my best friends would consider me a hypocrite. And I think hypocrisy is the one unforgivable in life. Doing one thing and saying another. (Applause)

More here.

There are at least two remarkable things in the exchange above.

First is the simple, direct honesty of a politician admitting not that he used pot way, way, way back in his student days when he didn't really inhale and then he never tried it again but that he was a regular, responsible user of a mild intoxicant whose legalization is supported by 58 percent of adult Americans.

God, when you put it that way, why is any courage necessary? Legalizing pot is wildly popular and getting more so. Yet few pols will cop to using. Indeed, it is nothing less than sad-making that well into the 21st century, so many officials are afraid to acknowledge any sort of illicit drug use (unless they are doing so as part of a mea culpa or to humble-brag that they've been clean and sober for X number of years). The prohibition of marijuana isn't simply a personal choice, it's an institutional decision that undergirds so much that is wrong with the war on drugs, criminal justice, education, and even foreign policy. It's progress that, as Jacob Sullum notes, that all four presidential candidates (Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Johnson) support letting states decide the legal status of pot. But even as it seems likely that California and other states will legalize recreational pot use in November, we've got miles to go before we can sleep, safe and secure in knowing that the drug war is actually over.

The second remarkable thing? Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, is normalizing the image of a pot user like no politician before him. Sure, he may seem, as John Stossel contends, a bit "sleepy" at times but it's not because he's high all the time. It's because he's a rock climber and a one-time competitive skier and from Colorado and New Mexico, places filled with folks who talk and sound just like him regardless of use. Among the most-important barriers to widening the range of legal intoxicants is the persistent notion that people who use "bad" or "illicit" drugs are different from you and me. At various points in its long and tortured history, marijuana has been associated with various out-groups, such as Mexicans, blacks, musicians (jazz men, rockers, and now rappers), youth, et al. Johnson helps to flip that script by being generally and genuinely presentable. He's not the second coming of Scooby-Doo's Shaggy or a Cheech & Chong character. He speaks eloquently about the control he exercises over his drugs of choice and his own body. We should all look so fit at 63 years old.

Ending the war on pot—or even the larger war on drugs—won't solve all or perhaps even that many of America's problems. But it will make this country a better place to live, and a fairer one to boot. That it's taking us well into the 21st century is to our collective shame. And that it's a third-party candidate leading the charge is to the shame of the Democrats and Republicans, even as that backward-looking sluggishness helps to explain why people are evacuating those parties as if the cops just showed up at the front door.

Related: "3 Reasons to Legalize Pot Now!" (2010)

NEXT: Despite Medical Marijuana, Pot Smell Justifies Searches in Arizona

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  1. He wouldn’t be able to answer the gay Nazi wedding cake question?

  2. My best friends and if I’d have said, “Hey, I don’t use it, or I haven’t used them,” my best friends would consider me a hypocrite.

    Johnson’s choom gang drops harsh labels, man.

    1. Wouldn’t that be lying, not hypocrisy?

      1. true, but to fair, GayJay was really fucked up during the interview.

      2. I think he’s alluding that if he was to say he wasn’t using it, he’d be implying that using it was bad, which would than be hypocritical as a user.

  3. Vote Gary, You Totes Can’t Tell If He’s Stoned

    1. Not sure if he’s stoned. But he looks certifiably insane in the photo Reason likes to use for his articles.

      1. he looks certifiably insane in the photo Reason likes to use for his articles.

        In the picture with this article he doesn’t look insane. Maybe a little angry, but I’m assuming that he was just in a bad mood because he hadn’t had a good burn in a while.

        1. No he’s got the crazy eyes.

          1. Now that I’m looking at it on a bigger screen, I can see the crazy a little better. I still submit that he probably hadn’t toked up in a while and that was making him cranky/ crazy that day.

      2. That’s the same look I have when I see a friend post something glowing about Clump.

    2. Hey, I’m on the blandwagon.

  4. The future is equal to the value of the past merged into the opportunities of the present.

    1. But How Would You *Know* if Agile Cyborg Used Pot?
      The short and honest answer: Only if he is posting at Reason!

      ;o)

  5. I wish I was stoned *wistful adult sigh*

  6. The list of LSD users includes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Feynman, and Francis Crick.

    Yeah, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton smoked pot, although I think George W. Bush was more famously an alcoholic / coke-head.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say the following: Given Hillary Clinton’s generation and situation, if she never smoked pot? Then there may be something wrong with her.

    How do you stay in college from 1965 – 1974 and never smoke pot? She lead her campus’ protest against the MLK assassination and led her campus’ fight to elect anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy in 1968, but she never smoked pot?

    That would be indicative of someone who isn’t just out of touch with America today, but someone who has been out of touch with the people immediately around her since 1965. Something is wrong with Hillary Clinton if she did all that but never smoked pot.

    1. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the following: Given Hillary Clinton’s generation and situation, if she never smoked pot? Then there may be something wrong with her.

      I’m going to go out on a limb and say the following: Given Ken Shultz’ apparent presumption that Hillary Clinton doesn’t generally operate between factually incorrect and lying, there may be something wrong with him.

      1. That was half my point. I’m glad you got it.

  7. Mr. Johnson: I did this about two months ago, it’s been about two months.

    There’s an old adage that I heard that you can tell a recovering alcoholic (addict) because they know in an instant when they they had their last drink (fix). Whereas a normal person/non-addict/recreational user will have to think back to when they last had a drink, if they can even remember at all.

    Also, since there’s no operation of heavy machinery or lives directly at risk, wouldn’t/couldn’t a stoned President be a good thing? Seems like war would be declared much less often within a haze of pot-smoke and Congress would be extra-edgy to make sure that the reason for going to war didn’t literally go up in a puff of smoke.

    1. There’s an old adage that I heard that you can tell a recovering alcoholic (addict) because they know in an instant when they they had their last drink (fix). Whereas a normal person/non-addict/recreational user will have to think back to when they last had a drink, if they can even remember at all.

      That is because people in recovery are very annoying.

    2. The old adage has it that the difference between a recovering alcoholic and a recovering drug addict is that an alcoholic can never remember where they’ve been and what they’ve done but a drug addict can never forget.

      But I’m sure you’re right, alcoholics can remember the last time they took a drink. Pot smokers, on the other hand, simply aren’t addicts. The long term downsides to pot smoking are generally inflicted by others on them (possession arrests, failed drug tests, etc.) and people who stop smoking don’t do so because they hit rock bottom. A lot of times, they’re just sick of being high all the time.

      I think there are big dangers in smoking pot for people in their teens and twenties. There’s an instant gratification problem, and it can lead to general lethargy at a time in your life when you should be out fighting to make something of yourself and impress women. When I was younger, I knew a lot of Towlies.

      I really do think it’s different for older and retired people.

  8. “And as president of the United States, that is also a 24/7 job.”

    Today I learned that Governor of New Mexico is in fact not a 24/7 job.

    1. Governor is at most, a part time job.

      Does NM’s legislature even meet every year?

      Until about 20 years ago, the KY legislature only met every other year and even now, doesnt meet for many days (60 in even years ,30 in odd years). So its not like you are going to spend the whole year vetoing shit.

      1. Looks like NM is the opposite, 60 in odd years, 30 in even years.

        1. Then fire that shit up!

    2. Today I learned that Governor of New Mexico is in fact not a 24/7 job.

      Duh, it’s fucking New Mexico.

  9. How Would You *Know* if LP Prez Nominee Gary Johnson Used Pot?

    He might as well be baked out of his gourd. It would at least explain his wandering gaze and his rambling way of answering questions.

    1. More important: is there a link to where you explain your handle change?

        1. Awesome!

          Best Monty Python movie?

          1. Second best. Life of Brian edges it out.

            1. Personal taste I guess: I put HG just ahead of LoB.

              1. I prefer Meaning of Life to LoB.

                LoB has some funny bits, but doesn’t do it for me overall.

  10. The short and honest answer: Only if he told you. Not all pot users are stoned out of their gourds all the time.

    Exactly! It’s like….uhh….right on, man.

  11. But what will he say to all the mothers whose children died from pot-addictions and pot-overdoses?

    1. Sorry you’re imaginary.

      1. You’re a towel!

  12. Just noticed Hihn dead threadfucked almost every comment on The Jacket’s July 11 piece. And I get mistaken for spam.
    -mutter,mutter-

    1. Sometimes you fuck the thread and sometimes the thread fucks you.

      1. Give you kudos, FS. You’ll go places I won’t go in threads.

        1. I’ll take that as a ringing endorsement.

          1. Cheers.

      2. In Soviet Russia, thread fucks you!

    2. Welcome back, straff. Did you figure out what happened (and apologies if you have already explained this elsewhere)?

      1. Anti-spammer software accidentally tagged me. Reason’s version of comment forfeiture. It’s all good. Thanks.

        1. That happened to me a couple years ago. I emailed Reason about it and ENB set thing right. This was before she was actually writing for Reason. Apparently she functioned as a webmaster or something for a time. That is before her totally professional interest in sex work launched her to the front page (of the blog).

          1. Freaked me out a bit since my last post was about making a food cart out of used wood chipper and pushing it around DC.

            1. Ha ha. I hope you didn’t throw out your stash.

            2. That is a genius idea and I will steal it without any attribution whatsoever to you.

              1. You could sell pulled pork sandwiches out of it at Porcfest.

      2. Mixup by the report spam algorithm, I believe.

  13. He speaks eloquently about the control he exercises over his drugs of choice and his own body.

    Eloquently? Gary Johnson?

    Nick has to be on dope.

    Never forget, Gary Johnson wants to lock up people who use drugs not of his choice.

    1. ^This. Fucker didn’t have enough balls to just outright state that the same economic principles that apply to pot also apply to all other drugs.

      How fucked are we if even the Libertarian presidential candidate can’t say that?

      1. Johnson seems convinced that if he runs as a mushy, wavering Republican, he might win the MSM’s approval and thus the election.

        The naivety would almost be charming if he weren’t besmirching the label “libertarian.”

        1. It doesn’t work for Republicans, but the different label will make it somehow work for him, I guess?

        2. He knows he isn’t winning anything.

          I’m not terribly excited about him at this point. But in this weird election, a squishy, middle of the road third party guy might be able to make a decent showing.

        3. The naivety would almost be charming if he weren’t besmirching the label “libertarian.”

          And I’d almost be tempted to call it naivety instead of outright bungling if he weren’t doing his best to alienate mushy, wavering Republican-types too.

      2. Almost exactly as fucked as we would be if he did say that.

        I’m pretty disappointed that he didn’t make that point too, but honestly, what difference does it make? There is no fucking way we will see heroin, coke or meth legalized in our lifetimes. Almost no one but libertarians take a principled view of drug policy.

        1. I’m pretty disappointed that he didn’t make that point too, but honestly, what difference, at this point, does it make?

          Eerily similar. Almost….too similar.

        2. I’m pretty disappointed that he didn’t make that point too, but honestly, what difference, at this point, does it make?

          Eerily similar. Almost….too similar.

          1. Doubly so

      3. How fucked are we if even the Libertarian presidential candidate can’t say that?

        That’s just a sign that it’s a day that ends in y. Like it or not, most people are too stupid to draw the obvious to us conclusion that the same arguments against pot prohibition also apply to other drugs. Because “DRUGZ R BAD, MMM’KAY!” If GJ wants to get people outside of the 100 or so Libertarians out there to actually consider the Libertarian option, he can’t blow it by scaring off the normals by talking about legalizing heroin.

        1. If GJ wants to get people outside of the 100 or so Libertarians out there to actually consider the Libertarian option, he can’t blow it by scaring off the normals by talking about legalizing heroin.

          Ron Paul did it, finished better than Johnson within a Republican primary and was exactly five hundred times better at attracting the normies to the libertarian banner than Johnson. Principles work, schminciples not so much.

          1. scaring off the normals by talking about legalizing heroin

            The 2016 Republican Party presidential nominee advocated legalizing heroin for over 20 years. This politically unpopular position didn’t hurt him one bit

          2. And I seem to recall a lot of those former Ron Paul supporters supporting Trump or Sanders this time around. I doubt their support in ’12 had anything to do with principles. More a combination of single issue anti-war voters (who went with Berntard this time around) and disgruntled people who wanted to blow up the Republican Party (who went Trump this time). No one gives two shits about principles when it comes to presidential politics except weirdos and losers.

            1. And I seem to recall a lot of those former Ron Paul supporters supporting Trump or Sanders this time around

              That’s pretty anecdotal. Meanwhile Ron Paul’s responsibility for the expansion of the base is statistically verifiable. And if getting the normals to vote for your guy is the goal anyways, what does it matter that in the next election some of those people supported candidates you find icky? That’s what normals do.

              1. Whatever. The point I’m trying to make, and maybe I’m doing a shitty job of it, is that it doesn’t really matter if Johnson makes the principled case for full drug legalization or and incrementalist argument for just marijuana legalization. The normals aren’t going to vote for him because of principles anyway.

                Shit, the point is moot no matter what because it’s not like he’s going to win. He’ll be lucky to get more than 1% no matter what he says. Voters are retarded.

            2. But, just to clarify, not all weirdos are losers and not all losers are weirdos, right?

  14. If Johnson does somehow win and smokes pot in the White House, I seriously doubt he’ll be the first president to do so.

    1. Yeah, I hear Ike just went nuts with that stuff.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the current choomer-in-chief partakes from time to time.

  15. So Gary was stoned when he endorse Hillary for Prez?

    1. To get *that* high, he’d have to smoke so much Jamaican reefer that the Rastafarians would experience a shortage.

    2. No but you were high on something when you imagined he had formally endorsed Cankles.

  16. “all four presidential candidates (Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Johnson)”

    Well, five, if you count Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party, one of three “minor” parties to have ballot access in a majority of states in 2012 (the other two were the Libertarians and Greens) and working for such access again this year.

    And whatever his party says, Castle opposes the federal drug war or a federal war on vice in general (among other, more shocking-to-cosmos positions):

    “I view the drug war as a total failure and would stop it immediately. The United States certainly has a right to determine what crosses its borders but in general drug policy should be on the state level. I personally favor decriminalization of drugs.

    “[QUESTION] This next question ties in with drug policy. Do you see a role for the federal government in regulating and/or prohibiting things such as prostitution, gambling, smoking, polygamous relationships or any other activities made by consenting adults?

    “[ANSWER] No I really don’t. The states are free of course to regulate if their people prefer but I see no Constitutional role in such things except possibly to control the spread of pandemic disease or something of that nature.”

    (imagine the shock – a candidate disagreeing with his own party)

  17. Folks, articles like this keep the label “cranks” stuck on the Libertarian party.

  18. Legalizing pot is wildly popular and getting more so.

    4 out of 50 states (with a lot of caveats in those 4 states) isn’t wildly popular. Could be a while before I can walk into a WeedMart in Tejas and buy legal weed, like I can do in, say, Colorado on vacation.

    1. I wouldn’t call it wildly popular either. I wish it was. Most people would be better off smoking pot than drinking to excess. But I am not going to kid myself and think that many people agree with me on that.

    2. FTA:

      legalization is supported by 58 percent of adult Americans.

      The fact that only 4 states have, so far, legalized it is merely an indicator that politics is lagging behind popular opinion. I supposed you could quibble over whether or not 58% in some poll is really “wildly popular” though.

  19. Who cares if he did? I so wish some candidate would tell the media that it is none of their business if they ever used drugs and absent evidence of abuse of no relevance to their fitness to hold office.

  20. Here’s part of what they discussed, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

    More here.

    Which is behind a fucking paywall. Nice going.

    1. Just google news search the headline, byline or a quote and you can read it.

  21. But How Would You *Know* if LP Prez Nominee Gary Johnson Used Pot?

    Wrong question. The right question is:

    But Why Would You Care if LP Prez Nominee Gary Johnson Used Pot?

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