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Gary Johnson speaks to Reform Conference

At the international reform conference yesterday, Gary Johnson talked about removing marijuana from Schedule 1 and pardoning non-violent marijuana offenders.

November 3, 2011, Los Angeles, CA — Citing growing public support for the legalization of marijuana and the costs of enforcing current marijuana laws, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson told a conference of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) Thursday that, as President, he would act immediately to remove cannabis from the classification under the Controlled Substances Act which makes it illegal under federal law. Johnson also pledged to expedite pardons for those convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses.

Speaking to the DPA in Los Angeles Thursday morning, Johnson said, “Polls show that at least half the American people today have come to the same conclusion I came to as Governor of New Mexico: That the prohibition of marijuana in this country makes no more sense than the last Prohibition did. Alcohol Prohibition in the last century accomplished nothing but the creation of Al Capone and amazing profits for organized crime. Today’s continuing prohibition of marijuana is accomplishing nothing but amazing profits for the cartels who are killing people by the thousands along our southern border.

“The President and the Attorney General have it within their power to end this madness by removing cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and allowing it to be treated like alcohol and tobacco. President Obama has said a lot lately about having to bypass Congress to accomplish his agenda. While I’m not enthused about most of what he is trying to do administratively, I would strongly suggest that reclassifying marijuana to reflect common sense is one executive action the President should take. And if elected, I would direct the Attorney General to immediately commence the process for removing marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA.”

Johnson added, “Obviously, ‘rescheduling’ marijuana would not, with the stroke of a pen, undo 50 sets of state law. It would, however, remove the faulty justification for federal laws which make recreational and medicinal marijuana use criminal. I also recognize that some in Congress might very well try to ‘recriminalize’ marijuana if I changed its classification administratively. Whether they succeeded or not, at least we would finally have the debate we need to have.

“Each year, 700,000 people are arrested for marijuana possession. Those are 700,000 people who now have a record, for whose prosecution we have paid, and whose cases are clogging up our courts and law enforcement agencies – for no logical reason. Since 1970, almost 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses, with the vast majority arrested for simple possession.

“After several decades, can anyone honestly say that our country is a better place as a result of having labeled those 20 million people as criminals?”

Johnson also repeated that, as President, he would establish a process for expediting pardons for those hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been convicted under federal law for nonviolent marijuana offenses, saying, “As President I believe pardoning those convicted under federal law would encourage the governors of the fifty states to likewise make it possible for a lot of good people to erase the blot of marijuana offenses from their records for state offenses.”

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5 comments to Gary Johnson speaks to Reform Conference

  • Peter

    One area where a change in Federal law would make an instant difference is immigration. Currently, foreign nationals convicted of possession of cannabis, in the US or abroad, are permanently excluded from immigrating, even if they are married to a US citizen. This permanent inadmissibility only applies to drug convictions and a small number of the most serious crimes such as murder and terrorism. Needless to say there is no limitation on how long ago the conviction occurred, and the current life-style of the convicted person is deemed irrelevant.

  • […] Read More: Gary Johnson speaks to Reform Conference « Drug WarRant […]

  • cannabis prisoners

    President Obama promise of “Hope” and “Change”

    I respectfully suggest that you issue their full pardon to all cannabis prisoners

    Mr. President Obama, I am hereby respectfully requesting that your exercise your executive privilege as President of the United States and that you grant full pardons, vindication and subsequent removal of their felony convictions of all cannabis prisoners

    LEGALIZE IT, DON’T CRITICIZE IT!

    LEGALIZE FREEDOM because
    uʍop ǝpısdn pǝuɹnʇ pןɹoʍ ǝɥʇ

  • ThanksBeSingsongNunsWhoMoonbeam

    There’s no way to win this war; we must simply fight to end it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k16qh2eDbAs

  • Jonathan

    I will be voting for Governor Gary Johnson for President! End the wars, balance the budget, equal rights for LGBT and legalize marijuana! This guy is exactly who America needs in The White House! The People’s President. The only GOP candidate who is Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay Rights, Pro-immigration, Pro-Marijuana and Anti-War! He is the best candidate for the job hands down!