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Marijuana: Ex-guv thinks Regulate act could bring down global pot prohibition

gary johnson cropped.jpg
Gary Johnson.
When backers of the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act turned in 12,000-plus signatures Friday to cure a 2,407 signature shortfall toward qualifying for the November ballot, a special guest was on hand: Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico.

Johnson thinks the Regulate measure could be the beginning of the end of pot prohibition in the U.S. and across the planet.

Johnson was elected governor as a Republican, but "I've quit the party," he says. He's now a presidential candidate for the Libertarian ticket. But he made time in his schedule to support the Regulate act, which he sees as being of potentially historic significance.

"Colorado has the opportunity to change drug policy worldwide," he says. "I really think this is the domino that brings an end to marijuana prohibition."

regulate marijuana like alcohol press conference july 2011.jpg
A photo from the July 2011 press conference to announce the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.
How so? "U.S. drug policy rules the world -- and I think there's a corollary between alcohol prohibition and marijuana prohibition. It's my understanding that one of the things that helped bring alcohol prohibition to an end was New York saying, 'We're not going to enforce federal prohibition laws anymore. Federal government, if you want to do that, go ahead. But we're not going to.' And the federal government didn't have the resources to begin to do that, and that really helped end alcohol prohibition."

Granted, the effect was far from immediate. New York governor Alfred E. Smith signed this measure in 1923, but the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which formally nixed prohibition, wasn't approved until late 1933 -- a full decade later. Still, New York's action was a major marker on the road to repeal, and Johnson thinks the Regulate act could play the same role. In his words, "This could be a real game-changer worldwide."

Johnson stops short of guaranteeing victory for the initiative, which still must be officially approved for the ballot by the Colorado Secretary of State's office. But he sees momentum moving in its direction.

"It's inevitable," he maintains. "When I came out in support of legalizing marijuana in 1999, 35 percent of Americans supported legalizing it -- maybe even less. Then, three months ago, Gallup did a poll that showed 50 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. And this is the first time it's been a fifty-fifty debate."

Click to continue reading our interview with former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.



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60 comments
Shaun Siever
Shaun Siever

Regulating and taxing the hell out of pot will not only be the largest blow to organized crime, but it will bring in billions of dollars in tax. It will create legal jobs. Sounds like something that might be good for the resession don't you think?

And all those gateway-killsbraincells-strongerthanyourfathers-causescancer myths can all be broken down in the movie the union: the business behind getting high. I encourage everyone to watch it for free online or on Netflix

AlWolf Sandlin
AlWolf Sandlin

oy you a stain also? your right names get names so FU.

Imagine420
Imagine420

GO TO MY FACEBOOK 4 VALUABLE INFOMATION - imagine420@ymail.com

Andrew Zebrun
Andrew Zebrun

This is great! Eliot Spitzer favors legalization too! I only wish he didn't favor hookers as well!

AlWolf Sandlin
AlWolf Sandlin

legalize all drugs. prohibition in any form fails and causes harm to those dealing with in in sales or buying.

Angela
Angela

I just want to know if any of you people talking about the state of Colorado live here. If you follow the rules they will leave you alone. It's the ones that always have to push the envelope that ruin it for everyone else.

Paul Paul
Paul Paul

Yes he's right to think this because the situation presents a number of opportunities. If any initiatives win, the feds are faced with deciding to enforce the law or allow states to opt out. If they fight then this gets them in the courts and starts the conversation and at this time state support for reform is changing rapidly. On the international level this scenario also presents a conflict with international conventions. In the past the international community would have unanimously condemned any suggestion of reform but when you have 11 Sth American leaders jointly calling for a ''regulated market'' ( http://transform-drugs.blogspo... andhttp://www.washingtonpost.c... ) you know things have changed. Public and international support is pushing for reform from every angle and if we can get our day in court with these laws, the facade of prohibition could come crashing down the world over.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

It's not legalization.  We will still have the CRS with the crimes still on the book so no this won't be legalization, but we can all delude ourselves in to believing it is.  It's understandable the media, yes, you Michael Roberts and Wil Breathes, have been reporting it as, "The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act," when all it takes is a little journalistic integrity to call the Secretary of States office and find out the official titles is, "Regulation of Marijuana." Although Westword is the best news source for this information in this state, however any journalists worth their ink would report a story as is and not fall for some false marketing.  How many open records requests have you made of the MMED? How much investigation into this hotly debated issue in this state?  Shit, you can't even get the name right.  Please, investigative journalism is in it's last troughs, don't kill it, take out you cub reporter badge and hat and do some god dam research in to what your attempting to report.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

**** Vote NO on I30 !! ****

You got fooled with HB1284 -- I30 is HB1284 for everyone !

Don't get fooled again!

**** Legalize Marijuana Like Oregano !! ****

Monkey
Monkey

"the things that helped bring alcohol prohibition to an end was New York saying, 'We're not going to enforce federal prohibition laws anymore."I wish Colorado would do this instead of play both fields. If we love ignoring the feds and making up rules, how about one that says no one from Colorado can assist the feds or enforce federal marijuana laws. Let the MMED and local law enforcement know that enforcing or assisting the enforcement of federal marijuana laws is unlawful in Colorado and they will prosecuted. Less laws regarding a plant and more laws regarding how Colorado enforces law would be time better spent. Police the police not a plant. I30 is just more of the same, if these are our baby steps, I'm not sure we will live to see actual walking.

Dave
Dave

Too much money being made by enforcing drug laws, from law enforcement agencies to pharmaceutical companies.  By the way if anyone is wonder why Obama is targeting California dispensaries after he promised he wouldn't, google "sativex."  Sativex is an oral spray derived from cannabis and the patent is owned by GW Pharma.  It has been approved for medical use in Europe and is in phase III clinical trials in the United States.  Obama is merely clearing out the competition for when this drug is approved for prescription medical use.

Dave
Dave

If you wouldn't want your friends or family arrested for it, it shouldn't be a crime.

Bri Myers
Bri Myers

It's a shame to me that this issue hasn't been addressed already. I have personally seen the devastating effects the prohibition has caused. And i have to agree with Halloween1966, WHY force people into using much more harmful substances? Be it fed dope or that new fangled legal weed. I got a shirt that says it perfectly it reads... "My other meds are addictive & MAY cause death!!!" Since when did Death become an acceptable side effect????

Publius Ceasar
Publius Ceasar

I've been saying it is going to be legal within 10 years since 1974... Carter wanted full decrim, but by that time his political capital was gone and he was a lame duck.

marilyn seenes
marilyn seenes

I can't say anything but legalize and get back to locking up REAL criminals instead of creating them!

Halloween1966
Halloween1966

Then hopefully industrial hemp will also be legal... there is even more potential there right now that could help our economy..BIG TIME. I think MJ is safer than 99% of the other choices one can make to either relieve pain or explore ones mind and creativity...   MJ is the least dangerous and harmful so why steer/force people to current legal choices that are toxic and fatal? ..ie spice and other herbs that are coated with chemicals.makes no sense....who is being kept safer or protected?

Aaronj740
Aaronj740

Man made acohol and gOd made marijuana who do you trust god orMan that's all I got too say

RichDream88
RichDream88

Again, another excellent article by Michael Roberts.  If people can drink responsibly, people can smoke responsibly.

Denver Guy
Denver Guy

Gary Johnson is a fantastic Candidate. It's a shame he never got the media coverage that every looney toon out there gets. The guy IMO is a perfect candidate.

Socially Liberal (and if you are a liberal I think this is usually YOUR must important requirement) and Fiscally conservative (Which USED to be the main talking point of the GOP before they went to war against The Gays and Women).

Dude plays both sides of the isle and does it well. I will be voting for Gary Johnson full and well knowing that he won't get elected. Why? Because Obama and Romney are essentially the same guy.

Johnson is awesome. Go Gary!

Anon
Anon

It is true, less than 10 yrs from now it will be legal. It is the same as gay marriage; there is nothing wrong with it, it can't kill you, and ultimately it is politicians holding it back.

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

It'll probably NEVER be legal until we can buy off, uh..bribe....er, LOBBY the politicians enough for them to buy nice vacation homes and put their kids through college without having to, you know, EARN it or anything.

HTH
HTH

Whatever dude. «nut tap»

Nope
Nope

Children can buy oregano. Why do you think children should have unrestricted access to a psychoactive like marijuana. Please explain brown schwag dealer.

Guesto
Guesto

The Feds already have a law that says nobody from the State can assist Colorado, they can't serve two masters.

The Justice Department might as well be Chinese, they have no business undermining the will of the voter in Colorado and invading our borders. Its unconstitutional. Like I said though, we have stockholm syndrome, and we love Big Government. Having the DNC here really fucked peoples heads up I guess.

Its amazing Ron Paul got so little support in a state that has so many sovereignty issues, then again voter fraud has been rampant everywhere so who knows. 

I wonder how a Federal Bureaucrat can eat a meal or get a hotel room in Oakland still, it wont be long before they have to jump from rooftop to rooftop and use elevators exclusively like authorities in Sao Paulo . 

DARAM12755
DARAM12755

So right and think of all the money we would save in our court systems?  Marijuana users should not be imprisoned.  It IS NOT A GATEWAY DRUG AND THAT IS A MYTH.

Daram12755
Daram12755

I am with you.  You have made this point perfectly.  No one should be locked up because they smoke marijuana or smoke it for medical reason.  There have been many DUI's but how many for marijuan use.  Alchohol is legal but how many people get killed every year by a drunk driver?

Daram1755
Daram1755

I agree with you totally and if people would not be so biased and do research, they would see this for themselves.  87% of Americans want it to be legalized.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Your "god" made polio and man made the polio vaccine.

Whom do you trust, god or man?

Ricky
Ricky

 ..and when one strays from God, usually bad things happen.  Look at all the problems that alcohol has caused, then compare that to the few problems that cannabis has caused...

Fairhill
Fairhill

The odds are better that people will smoke more responsibly than people will drink more responsibly. 

Guesto
Guesto

Its a good thing there is another Libertarian still in it to win it, whom Gary Johnson supports 100%, and his name is Ron Paul. 

DARAM12755
DARAM12755

I don't believe in gay rights and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  But legalization of marijuana and its being rejected by the government is wrong.  Too many Americans want it and MANY NEED IT FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES.

Guesto
Guesto

We the people insist on having an active and powerful Federal Government. Whether you support a Bush or an Obama its a case of stockholm syndrome, the Constitution already provided protections that would allow legalization of drugs and gay marriage. 

Ron Paul 2012 

Guesto
Guesto

its not really a plural thing

Lamar Smith holds all the keys , Ron Paul and Barney Frank tried to legalize Marijuana last year and they got stonewalled by him, just like every other time. 

Styxparadise
Styxparadise

its to scary of an idea for any law maker to look at biasiestly

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Why would you deny teenagers and children access to the miracle benefits of a "harmless plant" that never killed anyone ?

ps: Children can buy nutmeg. Why do you think children should have unrestricted access to a psychoactive like nutmeg ?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"The Justice Department might as well be Chinese, they have no business undermining the will of the voter in Colorado and invading our borders. Its unconstitutional. "

Does that include Colorado's old Amendment 2 that earned it the reputation as "The Hate State" ?

Does that include undermining the racist segregationist voters in the south during the civil rights movement ?

Ricky
Ricky

 Wrong. Polio was created by Satan.

Osherloxpub
Osherloxpub

God, provide us the natural resources and intelligance to creat the polio vaccine.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Almighty God is a living Man. You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time.

Skirandour
Skirandour

Hey douchenozzle, how about you stop thread jacking for Ron Paul 'eh? RP has no shot at the Republican nomination -- none. He won't win outright and won't win a brokered convention. Not to mention, if he somehow does make it to the general as a GOP nom he'll be eaten alive in November. Why? Because the man's too damn old!!! Gary Johnson is the business, and also has 8 years of Executive experience in the public sector - 8 years more than your man crush Ronny and 5 years more than Obama.

Guesto
Guesto

you'd be surprised how many lawmakers look at bestiality 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

It's too scary of an idea for lawmakers to consider without bias.

Daram12755
Daram12755

The government officials need some of your intelligence.  They are all in the dark ages.

Realguyinfl
Realguyinfl

Thank you Donkey!  It's always refreshing to run across some real intelligence.

Guesto
Guesto

Stockholm Syndrome. Everybody has a reason to love Big Government, and its all fear based. Us little old racist Americans could have never integrated w/out the help of Big Brother. Obviously... 

smh

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

... and Nuclear Weapons ...

Paahraize Jaayzus !!

RealGuyInFL
RealGuyInFL

You're not doing anybody any good with your name calling and showing your total lack of intelligence.  At this point, Ron Paul has a great chance to win the GOP nomination even if the msm won't tell you that.  Age has nothing to do with anything.  Ron Paul is in great health and certainly isn't going anywhere in the next 4 or even 8 years.  If he wins the GOP nomination, he'll crush Obama in the general election.

AlWolf Sandlin
AlWolf Sandlin

you are a dip wad. i would like to see RP/GJ as a team   he was saying lamar smith is stain and need taken out and refered to the bill  RP and BF tried to get passed that would end the federal prohibtion on cannabis. bill, HR 2306, is to remove it from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it. lamar stain said he would never allow to pass hi table and is sitting on it for almost a year now.

Skirandour
Skirandour

What can I say? We all grow up on edge and defensive in ABQ. Look, I like RP as much as the next guy, but why is it every time I see an article about GJ Ron Paul fanbots hijack the comments? Let the man live up the small amount of press he can get.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting connection to someone who hasn't abandoned the Republican Party yet. Thanks for posting, Guesto.

Guesto
Guesto

If your name is Chris or Erica and you grew up in ABQ I completely understand where you are coming from though. :-D

Guesto
Guesto

Im a huge fan of Gary Johnson , brother. I consider him to be a hero, and good friend. 

Ron Paul 2012 

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