Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson: I smoked pot from 2005-2008

Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson told the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard that he used marijuana for medical purposes from 2005-2008, before his state had passed a medical marijuana law.

Johnson has long portrayed himself as someone who has used marijuana.  “I don’t drink.  I don’t smoke pot.  But I have drank and I have smoked pot,” is a line we’ve personally heard the governor use in stump speeches at the NORML National Conference in Portland, the Seattle Hempfest, and the Cypress Hill Smokeout in San Bernardino, just three of the many pro-marijuana events Johnson has attended in support of his “Our America Initiative”.  The Standard interviewed the possible candidate for the Republican nomination for president and became the first journalists to press Johnson on the time frame of his past-tense marijuana references.

“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.

The Standard points out that Johnson’s honesty about his illegal medical marijuana use may be a handicap in appealing to Republican primary voters but it may be easier to sell to the typically more-conservative primary voter than his stances on other traditional Republican issues.

NORML is a non-partisan organization but our founder, Keith Stroup, has long counseled cannabis consumers to never vote for a politician that wants to treat us as criminals.  The issue of marijuana in presidential politics has been with us ever since Republican Richard Nixon declared drugs “Public Enemy #1”.  We’ve seen pot-friendly candidates when Democrat Jimmy Carter called for federal decriminalization of marijuana in the 1976 campaign through Republicans Sen. Mike Gravel and Rep. Ron Paul calling for an end to marijuana prohibition in the 2008 campaign.  We’ve seen pot-using candidates like Democrats Bill Clinton (who didn’t inhale), John Kerry, John Edwards, and Al Gore (who admit they inhaled), and Barack Obama (who inhaled, frequently, that was the point) and even Republican George W. Bush (who didn’t want the kids doing what he did).

Gov. Johnson, however, presents us with a potential candidate who is not just pro-decrim like Carter, but actually pro-legalization.  A candidate who not only admits he inhaled like Obama but did so just two or three years ago, after his terms as governor of New Mexico.  The fact that we can have a major presidential hopeful with a legitimate political chance talking openly about legalization and his recent marijuana use shows just how far we’ve come in forty years of marijuana law reform.

50 thoughts

  1. I am a prolife Christian conservative disabled veteran, father of three grown children, with two grandbabies. I have been married almost thirty years and do not smoke cigarettes and very rarely drink. I love the Lord and this war on drugs will not work. Our government is protecting the cartels that their laws help create. More and more of my true conservative friends will be following this issue closely and will let our representatives know how we feel and vote them out if necessary. I am praying for freedom to return to our great United States of America.

  2. Im a Republican and id VOTE for him any day,im a Republican and i Voted yes on 19 ya Normal you should do a story on all the Republicans that use or support the use of marijuana,Republicans like freedom and small government,we don’t like killing unborn baby’s or unfairly taxing the rich,but if treated right the right might be what normal needs to win the war on Drugs,anyhow people VOTE for people that will help legalize marijuana

  3. If we get the chance, I’ll be 100% behind Mr. Johnson!!!

    Let’s see if we can make it happen!

    He seems to be someone we can actually trust on this important issue.

  4. I am an independant. I used to live in New Mexico. When I did , the only time I voted was the first time Gary Johnson ran for gov. I voted for him.

    I never voted again until I voted for Obama – first time I ever participated in a presidential election.

    And Obama has lived up to 99% of his promises. Despite the republicans utter lack of cooperation too!

    But 1% is all I’m concerned about and he FUCKED ME. He went back on his promise to lay off pot smokers, that he supported decriminalization. Then he sends Hold to California and tells them Prop 19 won’t mean shit. We still are going to throw your asses in jail, legal or not. That’s a dictator. That’s a Nazi. Fuck him up!

    Vote for Gary and if he fucks up, FUCK HIM UP!!!!

  5. It is dobtful Ill ever e a chance to ote fo him since I am egitered to vote as a Green and it s unlikely that Johnso will eer become the winer of the Republican party nomination for president. Unfortunately I expect the ightmare senaio to happen: Sarh Palin will get the nomination and will win against Obama. The hoice seems to be against the bad tyrrany of Obama who will (sometimes) not raid medical marijuana dispeneries in states that hav medical marijuana and the even orse tyrrany of Palin or some other drug warrior ho will end the policychace that stoped te raids. I am certain that Palin willbegin th rads immeadiately as soo asshe beomes president. I think the idea th Jhnson wll get the Republican nomination isjust a stoners dream. Still, if I ad a choice in th geeal election between that evi monste Obama and Johnson I would vote for Johnson. The realityhowever sems to me thatwe just barely avouided the nding o the persection of the dispnseries thi election.I thnk that we can ime on a stopwatch the end of the policy that stops te raids on the dispenseries; it will end whe Palin becomes president in january 2013. We only have two years before legal access of cannabis anywhere in the world is ended; The dutch government has banned foriegners fro coffeeshops permanently nd when Palin becomes preesident in 2013 all medcl marijuana patients wil loose access to their medicine. If you live in a medical marijana state and are a patient enjoy for the next two years because it is ending in two years a bad tyrrnny will be relaced by an even wors tyrrany. As for tients in states that have no real medical marijuana access ( this includes New Jersey) the ruling tyrrany says this to patients: suffer, we hate you and love alchohol. As for Gary Johnson he will never win — he is just a stoners dram. As for me by he timethe 20 1 elction rolls around all we will have the chance to vot vote will be thrd party candiates who wllhave no chance of winning. I will vote for the thrd party candidate — it ismy way of denying the America I hate because Amerca is the drg war. There wilbe onlytwo solutions open to us now:overthrow the governent, replace the conttution with one that gauruntees the right of adults to smoke weed, move to Antartica, or mov to an alien planet in another solar sytem where no drug warriors exist. The enemy has partly won in this 2010 election and in 202 it wil complete their victory and start theraids on dispenseries again. Garry ohnson becoming president is a nice drea but I fear realnihmare awaits us; ohnson for peident is a stoners dream; al we have o look forward toi an etrnal dystopiannightmare becase we wil live and die in this pison called Amrica, this prison caled the earth.Only death ill free us fromthe eternal nightmar prison state f th drug warros and their tyrrnical rule.

  6. Makes me wonder if Jon Corzine of NJ (gov) did the same thing after his horrific car accident. If so he should come forward; after all, he did sign the medical marijuana bill for NJ in Jan. 2010!

  7. I’ve been smoking pot for over 40 years, and the only problems I have had, is from law enforcement. I worked for the federal government for over 20 yrs. and no problems on or off the job.

  8. I knew I was going to vote against Obama. I didn’t know who I was going to vote for. Now I do know. President Gary Johnson has a nice sound to it. Lets make it happen.

  9. A call to my fellow Republicans.

    Obviously my name is not Paul Revere, but as such, I spread truth to the sheep that are under the shepards watchfull eye.

    Why vote against legal marijuana just because party leaders tell you to?

    Think for yourselves. Educate yourselves. Being an informed person gives you an edge over the enemy. Only thing is, the deeper you dig, the more you will find that you have been lied to by the Nixon/Reagan era mind control.

    Marijiana is a good plant. Not only does it have theraputic values, that I ndont nessesarliy belive should be labled as medicinal as we do not refer to red wines cleaning of cholesterol from arteries as medcinal. But it is also a very safe and effective alternative to alchohol consumption which in itslef is not only a discretion destroying substance, but also toxic and leathal when taken past the point of moderation.

    Unfortunalty alchohol is woven into our culture and socially accepted to the point where it’s considered tollerable to drive with 1 or 2 drinks in your system but it’s not ok to smoke a joint and apparently drive, or earn a living for the next 30 days till it is completely out of your system even though the high has dissapeared within a few hours.

    Our current marijuana laws are obnoxious at best and down right draconian at worst.

    Marijuana legalization is not just another liberal hippie cause. It is a fight I and many other Republican friends of mine have taken up and we are tired of being perecuted for making a choice top not follow the shepards lead into the fire.

    And my last point will be dirrected to the “What about the children” fear mongers.

    What about the children? Hmm?

    If taxed, legalized, & sold behind a counter top by a buisness the checks ID at worst your son or daughter may get a little marijuana from an older sibling, but isnt that a better alternative to you 13,15,17 year old child wandering the slums of you nearest ghetto and buying cocain laced marijuana from some low life crack addict?

    What is the social cost of legalization?

    You child doesnt get introduced into the world of degenerates and develops a worse problem then smoking a substance less harmfull then alchohol and they dont get arrested and lose out on going to college for making a mistake of smoking the so called “Devils weed” that the “Moral authority” has brain washed you into beleiving is as bad a heroin.

  10. Umm, Gravel was a Democratic candidate, not a Republican.
    Johnson has my vote (and I can vote for him in the primary….)

  11. Got a question for him. Are hemp laws treason against the republic? Making free enterprise illegal.

  12. I have a feeling that Mr. Johnson is going to face some problems as a candidate because of his recent “illicit drug use” Hopefully either Ron Paul or Johnson will run for 2012.

  13. The US needs to decrim like the handful of European (haha, “you’re a- peein’!) countries that have. We cannot sustain a prison industry.

  14. ANY politician that endorses marijuana legalization has my vote! And I vote! And I’m outspoken: two-faced politicians such as Obama, who misrepresent their stances to garner votes- get only my disdain.

  15. I used to smoke marijuana on a daily basis for 20 years. I could get it almost anytime I wanted, the war on drugs is a huge joke. I am shoked that alchohol is legal however marijuana is not. I cant tell you the stupid things Ive done while drunk ,while I am the complete opposite while stoned. Az (where I live finally p[assed med marijuana(thank God) I hope the rest of this nation wakes up and gets with it. people arent going to quit using marijuana….legan or not

  16. Oh great! Just watch, some government official will come out now with this newly found information and demand that all the legislation that Gov. Gary Johnson signed into law must be withdrawn due to an incompetent decision that was made while he was under the effects of Marijuana. I’ll vote for the guy but there are way too many people that are stuck within the “Reefer Madness” reality. Give it another thirty years and it will probably be legal. Hope I’m still around when that happens!

  17. In the meantime

    Let us make more laws

    Let us cage/more criminals

    Be safe and have a Merry CHristmas

    God Bless

  18. I’ve passed the joint before on good friday 1995 and sided with Republicans for Obama in the last election. I’m not so sure about Gary Johnson for president. Sounds good but, what about Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac? Bobby should I run for santoro cocaine reward narc out this election fo? or should I let slide by again? because a rewardless narcer outer don’t work the right way?

  19. democrat officer shane has a hateful little sister that don’t allow calls or writing. most of all that don’t help a sisters brother… I don’t want to date either because there always into dumping for a fatter man that makes me no know why… They don’t let you go a round about way after you’ve been ripped off by a crime instead they help snoop doggy doggs fan and Alabama deputy sherif Jonnny Barnes who won’t tell you his real name if you asked every time..

  20. I’m for legalizing marijuana in some southeast states and decriminalizing marijuana in this country in more states. The crucial question is will GA PD downtown such as Sarge Gary Wisham keep ignoring real crime complaints and not repairing out of work relations after they take real crime complaints? I mention they still enforce victimless crimes after not repairing financial relations and thats hatred to the victims of real crimes. I have joined the Flex your right criminal defense lawyer client network over this nonsense and georgians and cops that cause us stay out of work but, also for ascerting rights and not liking totalitarian penal slave states that are too oppressive without welfare. It is my oppinion the Republiucan sheriff party is too oppressive and so are many businesses they have one thing in common too often they don’t give an application reciept…

  21. Ralph Kroker are’nt you a fascist for finding parsley packet on aisle check out lane number #9 then why don’t you recontact who you used to know till the end of time? I’m starting to think you were for d e a ing me instead insted of the right to of talked about the ku klux after we had hung out eight years of time?
    What’s your thought about GJ for president?

  22. WK if your not a fascist for freedom you don’t give me a place i can write to to recontact you. That’s not being one the right way. You and 500 whites all operate the same similar way thats too paranoid. I could hire a PI but, it will take $50 and then a finders fee it is a problem when I am too low on money to do this task right now. Recontact who you used to know to say hello and if a High Times seller is an unfair stake out also then your better off reading on the internet and could blog on it also. I’ll talk to you but only before I leave for the long trip if you write me back about this. So far I’ve only found Aryan Nazi propaganda when I look up white rights in the U.S. and they will sell a propaganda package when it comes to the Fascist party it shows information but, don’t come with propaganda for sale.

  23. “decondon you need to learn to accept your mortality. There is no god. Sorry. Get over it.”

    If only I to were an omniscient being.
    At least in your mind there is no God.
    So where, might I ask, did you “learn” that God doesn’t exist? Don’t tell me atheists are experts on religion? Too funny. Wages of Sin=Death. Mortality? Are you speaking for the body or the spirit/soul? Since you seem to have it all figured out. The soul/spirit die with the body/vessel? Quite aware that the shell will pass. What lies after that?

    “Don’t presume to know that which you don’t understand.”

  24. Yes, Yes, a millions times YES!!!

    Finally a republican who has come to a genuine realization that maybe…huh…maybe this little green plant is not really the devil after all?!?!?

    OH Lord, thank ye, for thou have answered thy prayers!!

    I voted for Barrack as a convinced democrat, if Gary Johnson holds true to his statements, consider me converted!! Gary Johnson for 2012!!

  25. I am a democrat by default only because of the insane social conservatives in the republican party. I would vote for Gary Johnson in a second!!! True libertarian that will lower the defense budget, almost to good to be true 🙂

  26. I am open to the best leader or the job. Not Republican
    not a democrat. Love Jesus and my family, but I smoke Pot
    on occasion. I have never had an adverse effect, crashed
    a car or thought about ending someone’s life, so I ask
    what’s the problem with legalization? Is the Government
    afraid they will loose money on the deal? I wish people
    would quit believing the scare tactics and look at the
    facts, Alcohol and cigarettes are the real killers.

  27. High Time is screwing us all over by taking out the busted section blog. I thought those blue ribbon dems were suppose to be for freedom of speech and blogger expression. I’ll think over Johnson for 2010 but, I was’nt really impressed by that internet commercial. With me it’s not stuff such as roe vs wade back then that was’nt the issue it was more stuff like how’s the department of labor results on the neighborhood and for too long it was’nt any good. People want to know about issues like income tax, power policy, most of all the skinny and the tall…

  28. This is a blue dog democrat state and it seemed to be closser to the right vibe but, now I see that when it’s not alternative enough it’s not anymore most of all I can’t endorse either party. Are anarchist or communist rights can instantly be out dated by who wanted are confederate emblem on are state flag revoked literally with time. I gotta ask myself and others is this right way to progress into the future. I don’t think so we get taxation without representation and we get shafted by the ineffieciency’s of socialism and capitalism industries this is a Hollywood nation gone weirder…

  29. i’m all for legalization of marijuana. why do we let our leaders get away with making laws for us that they are exempt from?this guy should be stripped of any pension and should have been drug tested like everyone that has one of those safety sensative jobs ie truck drivers.what he did was and is illegal.why is it that not one senate or congressman or any leader on any level has ever had to take a drug test to get the job or randoms to keep them?yet the truck driver that smokes a joint on saturday can loss their job on monday.the leaders that send or military over seas to fight in wars have yet to pee in a cup .879 billion in stimulas and health care for all and not on of us knows if nancy pelosi was doing lines of coke of her office desk before her vote;not one leader took a random before they voted.what was the condition[debit,crime,etc]in the state that gov johnson was in charge of .was marijuana use a factor?it sure seems to be a factor if you drive a big get a job at wal mart you got to take a drug test.we allow our public schools to drug test our kids if they drive to school or do any after school activities and our leaders not one has ever taken a drug test and we are ok with that in this country.freedom

  30. @43 – Murt – What makes you think that we’re okay with our leaders not having to follow the same rules and regulations that the rest of us have to follow? Perhaps the fact they simply get away with it? Well, I’m not okay it but they control the police and the military and generally seem to ignore what we want in favour of what they want. That’s the way I percieve what is happening anyway…

  31. this is the kind of guy we need in the ring fighting for us. if not, more political figures like him who are also not afraid to stand up.

  32. Let’s not forget 1919 to 1933 the dry spell caused by the 18th amendment the FDR Democrats repealed that with the 21st amendment. Activism is greater than blogging itself. Bad service in cocktail lounges it’s how neither party cares about increasing qaulity service standards. Shame on people who don’t care if the industry is underregulated even though people find releif in alchoholic beverages. Lame duck democrats hog a new deal but Republicans don’t call across county lines unless there lining up a don’t give a last name and then lose you in a crowd illegal drug deal thats rarely worth it and often many times not. Monkey see if you ingest or not too one on one me & you people like monkey could or may or may not should.

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