Gary Johnson is asked about the drug war

In an interview with Robert Naiman reported in the Huffington Post, Presidential candidate Gary Johnson was asked about the drug war.

RN: I wanted to ask you about your opinion the “war on drugs.” This is kind of a signature issue for you, I wanted you to talk about the cost, your perception of the failure, and particularly the implications of the “war on drugs” for people in other countries, particularly in Mexico and Latin America, Mexico where thousands of people have been killed in the war on drugs there, Central America where there is now apparently a big expansion of the criminal drug trade. So tell me about your thoughts on the war on drugs, and what you think the U.S. should be doing instead, particularly as that relates to the impact of the war on drugs on other countries.

Gary Johnson: As Governor of New Mexico, what my pledge was, and what I did, and I’m really proud of this, and I said I was going to do this, that everything was going to be a cost-benefit analysis. Everything. What are we spending our money on, and what are we getting for the money that we’re spending. That there wouldn’t be any sacred cows, that politics was going to be the last consideration on the list, that first and foremost it was going to be about the issues, and understanding the issues. So when it comes to the war on drugs, I’m opposed to the war on drugs A through Z. But I came at it initially from the standpoint of – and, you know, there’s naivety, I guess, on a broad number of issues, and this is after I’m elected, one of them is, I guess I really didn’t understand that half of everything we spend on law enforcement, the courts, and the prisons is drug-related, and when you think about that, that is just staggering.

And when you think about what are we getting for half law enforcement, half the courts, and half the prisons? Well what we’re getting, is we’re arresting 1.8 million people a year in this country, which I point out is the population of New Mexico, that gets arrested every single year. And, we now have 2.3 million people behind bars. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. And this is America? Liberty, freedom, the personal responsibility that goes along with that? I guess, except when it comes to your own body and what the decisions are surrounding that.

So going back to 1999, I came to the conclusion… that 90% of the drug problem is prohibition-related, not use-related. That’s not to discount the problems with use and abuse, but that ought to be the focus. So in 1999, I advocated then, I advocate it now. Legalize marijuana. Control it, regulate it, tax it. It’s never going to be legal to smoke pot, become impaired, get behind the wheel of a car, do harm to others. It’s never going to be legal for kids to smoke pot or buy pot. And under which scenario is it going to be easier for kids to smoke pot or buy pot? The situation that exists today, where it’s virtually available anywhere, and the person that sells pot also sells harder drugs? Or a situation where to purchase it, you would have to produce an ID in a controlled environment, like alcohol, to be able to buy it. I think you can make the case that it would be harder to buy it, in that controlled environment.

When it comes to all the other drugs – [marijuana] is the only drug that I’m advocating legalizing – but when it comes to all the other drugs, I think what we ought to really be concentrating on are harm reduction strategies – the things that we really care about, which is reducing death, disease, crime, corruption – in a nutshell, it is looking at the drug problem first as a health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue.

So here we have the border violence with Mexico. 28,000 deaths south of the border over the last four years. I believe that if we legalize marijuana 75% of that border violence goes away, because that’s the estimate of the drug cartel’s activities that revolve around the drug trade. The drug trade – prohibition – these are disputes that are being played out with guns, rather than the courts. Control this stuff, regulate this stuff, take the money out of drugs, and so goes the violence.

This is the advantage of a Gary Johnson candidacy. Public discussions about the drug war.

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82 Responses to Gary Johnson is asked about the drug war

  1. M Van Houten says:

    Kind of poignant when you keep in mind Obama’s campaign BS. A politician is a politician. If they win national office they will sell you out.

  2. he understands that the vast majority of the problem is prohibition, but then wants to keep it in place for everything except marijuana? c’mon gary you know the REAL answer is to end prohibition completely and to sell intoxicants via a regulated market to adults who wish to use them

    • KRJ says:

      Yeah, he does. If you ask him about that he says that “the world would be a much better place if all drugs were legalized overnight.” (there’s some townhalls on youtube where he says that, but I can’t find the link right now)

      He advocates what he calls “harm reduction strategies” for all other drugs, which really isn’t too far off from full on legalization. Heroin clinics, etc.

      It’s a political pandering move, but you’ve got to pander a little if you want to be considered a serious part of the debate, I guess.

  3. damaged justice says:

    And there is politics in a nutshell, “pragmatism” over principle. Everything reduced to utilitarian equations. Is it cost-effective? Does it “work”? Lost are the questions of good and evil, right and wrong.

    • Mace says:

      You are right! Marijuana is EVIL. Haven’t you ever seen Reefer Madness… just look at the affect it has on people.

      The president needs to be the arbiter of good and evil. We need to legislate morality and lock up those who violate the tenants of our (my) moral direction!!

      Or we could be the land of liberty…..

      • primus says:

        effect, not affect. tenets, not tenants.

      • Mace says:

        I stand corrected. Tank you Primus.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        If we’d re-legalize think of how much time the police would have to hunt down the violators of being grammatically correct and people who refuse to use a spellcheck software program.

        Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. my Spellcheck software says spellcheck is misspelled. Go figure that one out.

  4. Pete says:

    OK, how many times do I have to say this, guys? It’s not about who’s going to be President. We’re not going to get a President that’s going to legalize anything. It’s about letting it be part of the national political discussion so that the people can force the issue.

    Gary Johnson gets it in the national political discussion.

    I don’t give a fuck that he doesn’t say it in precisely the same way that you want it, or with the purity that you demand.

    He is doing exactly the right things to get it in the discussion.

    Of course he believes that all drugs should be legalized. You can tell that in the subtext. But the American public overwhelmingly believes that they shouldn’t be legalized (while being open to marijuana legalization). He has figured that if he says legalize all drugs, he’ll be completely dismissed as a nut job, while if he says legalize marijuana, people will go (OK, that’s radical, but let’s listen to what he has to say).

    He’s also running in Republican primaries. He’s going to do better there with cost-effective (small government, reducing budgets and taxes) than he will with promoting drugs as good and right (which is how that argument will be played).

    • DdC says:

      OK, how many times do I have to say this, guys?

      Ah 27? 62? I give up, how many times Pete? Doesn’t that statement totally convince you this is a fascist state? Think about what you’re saying. Since 1937 we haven’t had a simple discussion. We have hundreds of channels on cable and we’re still begging for a conversation that doesn’t stigmatize us as loonies or flakes? I can’t believe every American hasn’t heard the debate until they’re fed up and not even listening. If these morons don’t see the profit as the mitigating factor perpetuating this war. Maybe they don’t want to know. Its hard to teach something to someone getting a salary not to listen. Or to someone so afraid to make waves they sit by and watch it continue. I ask again. is it worth bartering for rights to end up with a policy worse than the streets? My grower friends are making good bucks. Most civilized places have some sort of means to get it. On the street or buyers clubs. This is ridiculous. Gary Johnson won’t get selected because of his advocacy. He can only answer questions they ask. They really don’t deserve Ganja. As long as the government patents cannabinoids and sativex sublingual sprays can fulfill the MMJ needs. Prohibition will remain as the profit maker it is. It has never been about the kids or health or safety. Its always profits. This way the drug companies get their share. Legit patients get their mmj. The Ganjawar can continue. Reforming Nixon’s lies isn’t reform. The only solution is complete abolition of the Controlled Substance Act. Especially concerning Ganja and Hemp. No compromises. I’m starting to think we should surrender and get billions in war reparations. Most wars end with the loser being assimilated and both sides end up changed. Soon GOPerverts are firing up doobies just like we all enjoy a plate of Mussolini’s spaghetti..

      Is The DEA Legalizing THC?

    • Glad you “don’t give a fuck,” Pete. But you’re wrong about that: Ron Paul advocated ending the federal prohibitions against all drugs – and raised tens of millions of dollars as a result. (It was some of his other statements that made him seem extreme and lose steam.) Also, presidential leadership most definitely matters – dismissing it is simply silly. And by implying that the American public just isn’t ready to have a grown-up discussion on repealing drug prohibition parrots the same crap Ethan et al. spew.

      Gary Johnson, as a presidential candidate, lacks the balls he had as governor. Can he really believe that harm reduction policies have merit, when the cartels will continue to control the drug trade? Come on, Pete…

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Ron Paul advocated ending the federal prohibitions against all drugs – and is perceived by approaching 100% of American voters to be a gibbering nutcake.

        Fixed your typo Danny. No need to thank me.

        (let’s not forget that it’s not a remote possibility that I voted for Mr. Paul while you were still in little league.)

    • primus says:

      It does appear that his approach has some chance of success; He only discusses cannabis, because it has the most favourable image with the public, and then cites the huge costs and lack of success. During times of budget distress, this will resonate with many who might then see the pro-freedom discussion in a more favourable light.

    • dt says:

      Pete – There is a big difference between the cost-benefit and rights-based arguments, and it’s important to keep in mind. Johnson touches on the rights argument when he says: “Liberty, freedom, the personal responsibility that goes along with that? I guess, except when it comes to your own body and what the decisions are surrounding that.”

      This kind of personal responsibility argument could play just as well to Republicans as the cost-effectiveness argument. The problem with cost-effectiveness is it can be used by either side and it buries the real issue. If drugs are evil then what’s wrong with stopping them at all costs? Arguing that drugs are not inherently evil doesn’t mean arguing they’re “good and right”; it just means that drug use is a matter of personal choice because they don’t necessarily cause harm.

      The cost-benefit arguments seem so compelling that they’re independent of moral judgments, but they’re really not. As a tactical matter, pro-legalization people need to hit the core issue whenever possible and not shy away from it. Johnson does a good job at this.

  5. darkcycle says:

    “We’re not going to get a President that’s going to legalize anything.”

  6. denmark says:

    It would be wonderful if the man did get to be our President. Unfortunately his picture is hardly showing up on the regurgitate news channels. You know, those wonderful producers behind the t.v. reporter talking head that tells them what to say.
    Who ever gets the job next really needs to be pounded by legalization groups on a strong and large scale. And if we don’t do this, well, you fill in the blanks. In my mind, it’s fairly obvious where the feds want to take this with all the dispensary raids going on.
    When I was pulling out of the gas station last week a yo-yo came walking around the corner wearing a DARE t-shirt. It looked brand new. He smiled and waved at me, I flipped him off. Not a good thing to do but it was spontaneous and it felt good at the time. Maybe the programmed idiot will think about it, then again, maybe not.

    • Maria says:

      Hah. You might have flipped off some poor confused hipster. Then again… not necessarily a bad thing to do.

      I’ve been bringing up Gary Johnson whenever I can. A lot of people have no clue who he is, not even those amongst the stoner crowd. So I figure the more exposure he gets the better, and not just because of his stance on cannabis. He’s definitely not a one trick pony and I’d love to see him get the exposure he needs to mount a serious campaign. Judging by the donation meter though… there’s no way he’ll be able to compete with Obama’s billions (or other candidates, for that matter..)

      Despite the nature of this race, the man is bringing up the drug war. He’s not “some guy.” He’s respected, rational and experienced.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Back in the 1980s I had a DARE bumpersticker on my triple beam’s carrying case. It was always good for a laugh, even better when someone didn’t grasp the motivation and would get are self righteous about it.

      But seriously, there are so many people who sport that and other similar sentiments that it’s in the LEO’s handbook of how to identify potential cases of drugs law violations.

  7. yeah, just like nobody listens to the “nutjobs” at LEAP.

    America needs actual leadership not the same political bullshit over and over that put us in this situation in the first place. and when exactly has the drug war not been a part of the national discussion?

    it is time for bold action rather than the same old lines of bullshit that we’ve been hearing for the past 40 years.

    we ALL know what we really need to be doing and saying — so DO IT and stop whining about how we have to keep waiting.

    “how many times do i have to say this” — how pompous can you get?

    • denmark says:

      Ending the war on drugs is a matter of national security. Ending the war on drugs should be a front and center discussion with the talking heads NOW. But no, they say there’s more important things to worry about. How many times have you heard that comment?
      Do understand your frustrations Brian, my own frustrations over the war on drugs are at a heightened level.

    • Mace says:

      Well said Brian.

      How many advocates for legalization are quietly going about their business – buying an eights from a local friend or stranger… and not speaking up!

      None of my friends want to “get involved”. They are content to allow the US GOVERNMENT sponsor the killing of tens of thousands in Mexico, incarcerate 1.8 million citizens a year and spend $70 billion on the failed war on drugs. Meanwhile our brothers and sisters are criminals for self medicating their ailments, our environment suffers under the industries of giant paper and timber while we squander the opportunity for real leadership. Johnson 2012!
      Liberty for America.

    • Pete says:

      Last I heard, LEAP wasn’t running for President.

    • Buc says:

      Well, Gary Johnson did veto more bills as governor during his time as New Mexico’s governor than all other 49 governors combined. So he has walked the walk when it comes to small government, considering that 99% of legislation these days will spend more, restrict more or both.

      I still can’t believe that anybody really thought Obama would be a whole lot different than W. Guess what, the next president, barring a Gary Johnson or RP victory, is going to be the same as well. Same foreign policy, same drug war, same increase of government spending.

      Barack, Hillary, Romney, Huckabee, Palin, they’re all the same on the biggest issues.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      You know I’d be willing to make a substantial wager that this is the first time Pete’s ever been described as pompous.

  8. Lauren Unruh says:

    I’d like to know if Gary Johnson can do something about the illegal incarceration of my minister, Reverend Roger Christie in Hawaii.

    As long as he is talking about legalizing marijuana, it sure would be nice if he could stick up for our freedom of religion.

    It is a first amendment right we are are supposed to have, but the prohibitionists seem to think freedom of religion gives them the right to discriminate against us, not us the right of protected free practice.

    I have never met a violent Cannabian, we sure could use a political advocate.


    • DdC says:

      Call for Action: Hawaii Medical Marijuana Patients Under Attack!
      Republican Senator introduces bill to disqualify a majority of the Islands’ medical marijuana patients full story

      The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry

      THC Ministry Amsterdam


      • DdC says:

        “Neither the trappings of robes, nor temples of stone, nor a fixed liturgy, nor an extensive literature or history is required to meet the test of beliefs cognizable under the Constitution as religious. So far as our law is concerned, one person’s religious beliefs held for one day are presumptively entitled to the same protection as the beliefs of millions which have been shared for thousands of years.”
        — Judge Jack Weinstein, New York State, 1977

        Freedom of Religion

        The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

        Rastafarians and Ganja

        “There is a point at which the law becomes immoral and unethical. That point is reached when it becomes a cloak for the cowardice that dares not stand up against blatant violations of justice. A state that supresses all freedom of speech, and which by imposing the most terrible punishments, treats each and every attempt at criticism, however morally justified, and every suggestion for improvement as plotting to high treason, is a state that breaks an unwritten law.”
        – Kurt Huber,
        The head of “White Rose”,
        killed by the Nazis in 1943.

        MARIJUANA AND THE BIBLE Ethiopian Zion Coptic

      • DdC says:

        Kathmandu and the Black Prince

        Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to you in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit; a good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those [men]. — Matthew 7:15-20

        Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1

        “If the people knew what we had done,
        they would chase us down the street and lynch us.”
        ~ George H.W. Bush to journalist Sarah McClendon

        Ron Paul accuses the CIA, Bush sr, and the democrats of drug trafficking

        “In every country and in every age,
        the priest has been hostile to liberty.
        He is always in alliance with the despot,
        abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”
        — Thomas Jefferson, – 1814

        “Ye shall know the truth,
        And the truth shall make you angry.”
        ~ Aldous Huxley


        1. The Politics of Heroin by Alfred W. McCoy (1972, 1991)
        Lawrence Hill Books – ISBN 1-55652-125-1
        2. Cocaine Politics by Peter Dale Scott & Johnathan Marshall (1991)
        U.C. Press – ISBN 0-520-07781-4
        3. The Iran-Contra Connection by Scott, Marshall, and Hunter (1987)
        South End Press – ISBN 0-89608-291-1
        4. The Big White Lie by Mike Levine (1993)
        Thunder’s Mouth Press – ISBN 1-56025-064
        5. Compromised by Terry Reed (1995)
        Penmarin Books – ISBN 1-883955-02-5
        6. Powder Burns by Clerino Castillo (1994)
        Mosaic Press – ISBN 0-88962-578-6
        7. The Underground Empire by James Mills (1974, 1978)
        Doubleday – ISBN 0-385-17535-3
        8. Inside The Shadow Government by the Christic Institute (1987)
        Declaration of Plantiff’s Counsel Filed by the Christic Institute –
        U.S. District Court, Miami, FL.
        9. Kiss The Boys Goodbye by Monika Jensen-Stevenson and Wm
        Stevenson (1990)
        Dutton – ISBN 0-525-24934-6
        10. Defrauding America by Rodney Stich (1994)
        Diablo Western Press – ISBN 0-932438-08-3
        11. Desperados: Latin Drug Lords by Elaine Shannon
        U.S. Lawmen, and the War America Can’t Win (1988) Viking Press

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Good golly it’s pretty far-fetched that the pothead religious zealots will be accommodated under 1st Amendment principles as long as the Rastafari aren’t. “They just want to get high” is the usual rhetoric. In keeping with the Know Nothing’s motto of never letting the facts get in the way of disseminating an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric, it means absolutely nothing that when the Rastafari established that pot was legal in Jamaica and they did not need an “excuse.” A significant number of Hindus use cannabis as part of their religion, so much so that there are a number of States in India where bhang is legal, at least under State law. The only reason that Nepal criminalized cannabis in 1973 was because the US paid them to do so. I do mean paid in actual money. They call it “foreign aid” IIRC.

  9. Mace says:

    All be sure to watch the first debate with Gary Johnson tomorrow night at 9:00 pm EDT on Fox News.

    Should be interesting!

    • Maria says:

      I don’t have Fox news but I will be stopping by for dinner at a friends place who does; and I’ll make sure to make them watch it as well. 😉

  10. Maria says:

    Seems that everyone has their pet cause. And their pet cause needs to be the priority above all other pet causes, because their pet cause is the true cause; lost in all these righteous causes is larger context and the cultural shifts.

    • Windy says:

      The cause that has the highest priority in my mind (and should in every person’s mind, American or not) is the unalienable RIGHT to ownership of one’s own body — LIBERTY — which our American government is SUPPOSED (Constitutionally MANDATED) to uphold and protect, instead of restricting and forbidding the exercise of that RIGHT which it has been doing to us for almost 100 years, now! Ron Paul (and, to a lesser extent, Gary Johnson) is promoting that message, intact.

  11. TrebleBass says:

    I don’t know how far he would get if he said he was for legalizing drugs in general, or even if he talked specifics about the harm reduction measures he favors. Maybe he wouldn’t get very far and I guess it could be a smart tactic to keep that vague until he gets to a bigger stage (like the GOP primaries debates on national television). Ron Paul and another guy whose name i dont’ remember got there last time, and they were in favor of legalization. However, I don’t remember if they actually said the word legalization or if they just said “end the war on drugs”. I think the other guy might have said it, but Ron Paul didn’t. I’m very happy about Gary Johnson and I hope he gets very far because to discuss the legalization of marijuana and harm reduction of all other drugs in and of itself is still going to make a large improvement in the national understanding of the issue. However, it would be even better if someone advocated complete legalization, used the word legalization in the GOP primary debates, and offered some specifics of what he/she thinks the regulations would be.

  12. Hardy says:

    I suggest signing up to volunteer, donate to the money bomb for him on Friday the day after the debate (, and get involved. Even as little involvement as letting your friends know about Gary Johnson is very useful, all the way up to holding your nose and voting republican in the primary so Gary can win the nomination. Lots to do in a short amount of time, but if the smokers and people in favor of legalization got behind Gary – right now – then it would push this issue which is has about 50% support over the tipping point.

  13. darkcycle says:

    Guys, I know this isn’t an open thread, but I’m gonna need a little help here. I’m going to be meeting with Dr. Zhongmin Wei, formerly of Cornell University on a business matter. Because this business matter is horticulture related the topic of Medical Marijuana WILL come up. Trust me, circumstances are such that there is little chance it won’t. Dr. Wei is not a supporter of MMJ. I need to win him over. Period.
    I went and checked my long neglected “RESEARCH” file and IT WASN’T THERE! My entire file with links to research on MMJ is gone. Somewhere along the line I did something that deleted or lost that file. It doesn’t exist anywhere I can access it.
    I’m looking specifically for a link I lost that had compiled links to MMJ studies. Any links to databases of MMJ research would be deeply and eternally appreciated. This meeting is coming up in a few days and I need that time to prepare other items for Dr. Wei, so….HELP?!

  14. darkcycle says:

    P.S. Thank you from the bottom of my dark little heart.

  15. tintguy says:

    Even if the American voters pulled an Alaska at the polls the real powers that be would never let it happen so don’t think for a minute that we will ever have a president whi will do the right thing on this issue or any others that truely matter.
    yes I’m in a mood

    • Duncan20903 says:

      There were two Alaskan vote of which I’m aware, the 1990 initiative which purported to criminalize cannabis in people’s private homes which passed 55-45 and which was tossed into the dustbin of history by the Alaskan Court of Appeals, and the 1998 Alaskan medicinal cannabis law protecting patients from conviction at the State level, which passed 58-42. The result is that I’m confused by what you mean by “pull an Alaska”. Do you understand that the State of Alaska has never legalized cannabis despite the claims of the Know Nothings to the contrary? Ravin v State of Alaska (1975) was about the State Constitution’s protection of its residents right to privacy and only nominally about the State’s cannabis laws. Hey, how many people reading this know that the Alaskan Constitution protection of the right to privacy was created by a ballot initiative passed in 1972?

      Well it’s only been 8 years since the 1990 vote was tossed and it’s unreasonable to get mad at the Know Nothings for continuing to use that as evidence supporting their claims when you consider just how “slow” they are.

  16. Mace says:

    Hi Darkcycle,

    I think this is the link you are looking for:

    Great compilation of research for anyone interested.


  17. darkcycle says:

    Ah, that’s one of ’em, not the main one I think I remember, but that’ll do nicely….thanks, Mace!

  18. Smokdaflag says:

    “As a country, we are going through problems due to the fact that the United States consumes too many drugs,” Fox said before a speech at the Turkish-American Chamber of Commerce. “I would recommend to legalize, de-penalize all drugs,” he added.

    Fox said the U.S. drug market generates billions of dollars that are laundered in the United States and flow into Mexico, money that is used to bribe Mexican police and government officials and to buy weapons that are brought into Mexico.

    “The question is not what is going on in Mexico, but what is going on in the United States,” Fox said.

  19. Love&Life says:

    I have been at more then one deathbed, including my own. Fortunately I survived my code blue initiation.

    MMJ was instrumental in my recovery from both that episode two years ago, and during the eight months of weekly Interferon shots endured seven years ago.

    When one is lying on the couch assessing that more energy is consumed with one’s arms simply crossed atop their chest versus lying at their sides, and does not have neither the energy or desire to eat, even after dropping over 20 pounds in a single month (and continuing to downward spiral), and marijuana erases that desperation and surrender with a single hit off the pipe, one’s perceptions of quality of life and right to die issues take on a whole different reality.

    Posted by GDH just minutes ago

  20. This is very dissapointing- he has no excuse to limit it to MJ- that he could have safely advocated legalizing PLANT drugs, not limited to MJ but including Coca Leaves and Opium- therefore avoiding the taint of legalizing everything, while address the reality that drug prohibition PROMOTES drug abuse and started as a criminal mercantilist market scheme to protect pharma and Virginia Bright Leaf cigarettes.

    By refusing to address this crimoicriminal mercantilism, alas, Gary Johnson chooses to be a part of the problem

  21. Pingback: links for 2011-05-04 « Silent Lucidity

  22. Cannabis Jonez says:

    when U.S.Banks are no longer able to launder “billions” $420, Billion! and only pay a “fine of $160 million!?! and no one goes to jail? Bonus Money? There,s just to much “Free Money” in this “war?” too end it, So “Just Say Yes,Grow yer Own” I,m not sure how or when,But i,m feeling like the (NAZI) some how have won? it time to end this maddness!$14 Trillion and growing,35,000 dead in the past 5yr. and growing in Mexico. Cannabis/Hemp must be placed on the same leave as Beer/cotton/Wine/Paper/Gin/Oil!

    • Duncan20903 says:

      What’s the thinking behind the comparison of gross funds laundered and the amount of the fine? Are you mistakenly thinking that the $420 billion figure is net profit, not gross revenue?

      We also need to know what the actual action behind the so called money “laundering” was. If a drug dealer goes to meet a client and sells him $50 worth of an illegal substance, stops at the convenience store to buy a soda pop using some of that money on the way home, he’s guilty of “money laundering.” If the soda pop vendor had reason to believe, knew, or should have known that the customer was using drug money to buy said can of soda pop the merchant is also guilty of money laundering. Remember when the Feds charged Ed Rosenthal for money laundering? The action that got him this charge was purchasing a couple of money orders (to pay the electric bill IIRC). Purchasing a money order might be the object of a legal fiction defining it as money laundering, but that’s a reflection of our Country’s through the looking glass reality, not actual criminal activity..

  23. Outlier says:

    Totally agreed with Pete. The movement isn’t about any one politician. Politicians no matter how “pure” they are, are only reflections of public opinion. The more followers that join the movement, and the more people we have calling their representatives, or donating to LEAP or DPA, or just having conversations with their parents about what’s going on, the better chance we have to advance liberty and end the futile destruction of the War on Drugs. Johnson is important for the message that he will bring to the debate, but he’s just one man.

  24. vickyvampire says:

    Yeah, I heard Michael Medved dismiss Gary chances already just because of his stance for pot,did not out right say it,more subtle yet sarcastic still,conservatives just hate and dismiss anyone who supports Cannabis treat them like they are insane.

    Oh I Guess there was cabbage and weed growing outside Osama Bin Laden’s Compound,I have no idea,if he enjoyed partaking,shh don’t let the Pro-hibs know they will blame the evil reefer for turning him into a terrorist, HA HA YEAH no its its not funny they are that crazy.

  25. Bailey says:

    I find this symptomatic of a schism in drug reform. Best versus fastest.

    It used to seem reformers weren’t sure ending prohibition would happen at all. Now many feel that not only will prohibition end, it should end all at once. Devastating practices don’t just end, even once they’re unpopular. Alcohol prohibition, slavery, and most any injustice we’ve actually addressed has taken years or even decades to undue.

    When it comes to drug policy reform, I’ve met Gary Johnson, and I’ve met lots of presidential candidates. He’s the only one I’ve met at SSDP conferences, keynoting DPA conferences. Hell, he went to my old college and spoke at our state NORML conference. Where is this notion that Gary Johnson doesn’t give a damn about the drug reform movement coming form? He’s the only one who does. Ron Paul, like Johnson supports legalization when asked, but he never showed up at a NORML conference, which would have been happy to have him. Gary Johnson spent years sticking his neck out for drug policy, I hope some of us will stick our neck out for him by letting him treat this campaign like the politics it is instead an ideological oath we like.

    If I were reading this, I’d be cynical about anyone else telling me to be a one issue voter, and I’d get pissed at anyone who said “If you don’t support candidate X, you must not care about issue Y.” However I’d get more angry at anyone saying “I don’t care about getting any of what I want, until I know I’ll get all of what I want.” It makes people sound as puritanical as the people they oppose.

      • Maria says:

        I’ve been reading some of these comments and I’m a little confused. I’m not sure what else people want from a guy who’s worked rather hard to normalize the debate regarding the Drug War while doing the rest of his day job and building up cred.

        It’s like, if he doesn’t fit into all our disparate visions of some “Perfect Idol” then he is simply dismissed. He’s “useless”, “pointless”, “with the enemy,” or “part of the problem.” What’s messed is that this dismissal and minimization is not being done by his opponents. It’s being done by the people who should in theory support him, at least somewhat. This is what I don’t get. You don’t have to only support him. It’s not an either/or world. But at least give the guy some credit for what he’s doing without tearing him down for what he’s not.

        Does anyone really believe that in this context, the context being a serious run for presidential office, that a person who brandishes a sword and demands that the stinking, rotten system be destroyed could be more effective amongst the “regular people?” More effective then a respected and experienced governor who keeps repeating on the 6 o’clock news that cops shouldn’t be arresting people for growing a plant and then goes on to explain to Mr. and Mrs. Smith WHY that is in terms that they can understand?

        No, I just don’t see it, since it’s been done before. There’s been countless firebrands who yell from the sidelines about “The System”. Frankly, Johnson’s tactic is fresher then that tried and true method of (not) being heard. (Yes yes, of course we need both types of activists. We need the shit stirrers because the system IS fucked up. I just have a hard time picturing them raid each others closets and wear each others shoes to go see the same concert…)

        For me, it’s not important that he’s running for the POSITION of President or even if he will win. (That would be something.) The point is that he’s running. Full stop. He’s not a front runner by any stretch of the imagination, but he IS being taken seriously by ‘The System’ and by most who talk to him, at least so far. And this is because he is respected from all quarters, because he has a record of keeping to his word, and because he is not taking the bait from those who wish to label him as a joke or a radical.

        And yet so many seem to be lamenting that he’s not burning bridges fast enough or descending from the mountains upon a horse of holy fire to purge the whole mess.

        Look, he’s just not that kind of guy.

        I don’t have to agree with him on everything to see the benefit of what he’s doing. I can support and respect a man without internalizing every word he says and I can ride with him for a bit without needing to end up at the exact same destination. Or until I feel we should part ways again.

        The drug war crosses all political, and economic boundaries, systems, and theories. I guess that’s why there is so much infighting because there is no Perfect Idol.

        (Oi. This comment was supposed to be posted at the end, not as a reply to the +1. Not sure what happened.)

  26. “Puritanical”?

    There’s a distinction between FULL legalization- that is EVERYTHING without regard to safety- e.g. powder drugs in vending machines, without labeling, versus EQUITY with FULL YET LIMITED legalization based upon SAFETY- meaning allowing PLANT drugs, but not neccessarily all concentrated forms. Uncle Sam does a great job at converting opium smokers to heroin injecters and cigarette smokers, and banning the safest stimulant coca for the sake of the most dangerous, cigarettes is a continuing crime against humanity.

    The failure to address the criminal agricultural mercantilim is the flip side of this disgusting fratermalist government.

    • dt says:

      Most of the common psychoactive plants are safe, but that’s not really the correct line to draw. You’re railing against cigarettes, which are made from a plant…

  27. But which are loaded with UNlabeled additives- making them adulterated and mislabeled to say the least.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      So you should make sure to put forth that you’re actually against the harmful additives rather than the tobacco itself. It’s just like the lawbook thumping Know Nothings who claim cannabis is deleterious to heath and then make a list of the potential health hazards of lighting vegatation on fire and purposefully inhaling the gasses created by combustion.

  28. Scott says:

    Though I understand the instinct to compromise your position to appear reasonable to the masses, such compromise certainly carries a price against your credibility (and if you represent us, our credibility).

    I am much happier being an honest man who is dismissed as crazy by ignorant people, continuing to express the whole truth and nothing but.

    Whole truth is a brilliantly powerful force, when expressed properly.

    Partially embracing ignorance as a way to get your foot in the door fuels that ignorance (just ask our opponents, who have a lot of experience in that embrace).

    Politicians generally demonstrate dishonesty consistently to maintain power, but their lies continue to mount and the resulting anger by the victims (all Americans, at this point) is also rising.

    When national anger reaches a certain threshold, a natural cleaning process occurs. Those who abuse power are exposed for the filth they prospered from, removed from power, and a new system of government is created to avoid that filth moving forward. Eventually, that cleaning process repeats when imperfection again leads to that threshold.

    The United States is unique in that revolutionary principles involving empowering the masses by limiting government power were firmly established in law. We are a nation supposed to be grounded in individualism for a natural collective (our liberty limited only by the right itself), not a coercive collectivism enforced by a dominant central authority (the likes of who have abused their unchecked power throughout history).

    In other words, we do not need to start a revolution. We need to put down the effective “public servant” revolution opposing such principles sadly yet to be realized after over two centuries.

    We are still dominated by the pre-America mentality of popular sentiment defining our laws, instead of the unalienable right to liberty, which should define it to limit abuse in any of its many forms.

    I would rather be an honest man doing his part for that natural cleaning process, for the unalienable right to liberty that I believe will always be the base right moving forward, given how naturally effective it is to the extent properly realized.

    Otherwise, I would drown in the partially-corrupt system in place today, where compromising principle is accepted as “real”, and the lack of such compromise as “crazy”.

    Based on that last sentence, you tell me who is truly crazy.

    Gary Johnson (sincerely with no disrespect against him) is of little help to us, because he is positioned as a weak political candidate. Yes, he promotes the discussion a bit, Pete. However, his compromise corrupts that discussion. Net result IMHO? Meh.

    • darkcycle says:

      Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Progress does not happen like that, much as it would be nice. Even Alcohol prohibition fell by pieces, not with one stroke. We are stuck with what we got, unless there’s some armed revolutionary movement in this country that I’m unaware of. From where we are now, (with Gary Johnson) we can influence the National conversation in this election. In case no one has been paying attention, that’s more power than we’ve ever been able to wield before. Before we were fully and completely marginalized and left out of the conversation altogether.
      I like the sound of “NO COMPROMISE! LEGALIZATION NOW!” as well as anybody. We don’t have that kind of influence. If that’s our tack, we’ll be defeated soundly. This didn’t start yesterday, folks, it took forty years to get where we are now.

      • Scott says:

        “Progress does not happen like that, much as it would be nice. Even Alcohol prohibition fell by pieces, not with one stroke.”

        Extremists battle it out, sticking to their ideals, working to persuade the masses, the ‘truth compromisers’ (e.g. Gary Johnson) and ignorant people weigh in, and the result is what it is.

        Our movement contains some extremists by nature. After scrutinizing our opponent’s case against us, I have yet to find a single sustainable point in their favor, and I am as fair-minded as it gets.

        As soon as you embrace partial truth for the sake of earning public points (deceiving the public), you expose yourself to all of the obvious negative criticism that goes with.

        One could call me crazy, but they can never disagree with the all-encompassing fact that by any rational interpretation of our Constitution, the CSA cannot possibly be law.

        I can stick to that simple point over and over, and no matter what anyone says, they can’t get around that CSA-defeating fact.

        I can toss in Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent of Gonzales v. Raich, basically verifying that point for credibility.

        “This didn’t start yesterday, folks, it took forty years to get where we are now.”

        On a federal level, that is nowhere, sadly. The CSA is as entrenched as ever. Apparently, this is due to only having a bunch of people making too many points to a generally uncaring public.

        This is not about achieving perfection. It is about relying on whole truth as an anchor point in the discussion we want to engage in.

        When you compromise your principles, you lose grasp on what you said and did not. When you don’t compromise, you never lose that grasp, because you express yourself from your “heart” every time (sorry, if that comes across as sappy).

        The unalienable right to liberty is an ideal. We don’t need a perfect realization of it, because perfection cannot be achieved. However, we need society’s best effort to realize it, because the ideal represents a sound principle. Sound ideals serve as a guide.

        Right now, we don’t have society looking to that guide (or any guide).

        We have society looking at the tired, old ‘rule-of-law set only by persuasion’ mentality, and the corruption that naturally goes with in the form of inconsistency.

        Some in our movement support that mentality, accepting the abuse of power, and the need to compromise principles, as the only way reality works.

        Some do not. Some defy conventional wisdom for principle sake. And sometimes, that defiance becomes the norm, evolving our society.

      • darkcycle says:

        Scott, you can continue to speak truth while you push for incremental reforms, the two are not mutually exclusive. If they were who would have even attempted the reforms we have already won? Extreme demands and hyperbole is not going to get you a seat at the table, or even close enough to it to shout your message. Right now, the audience you are writing to understands and even sympathizes with your position. Those outside the drug reform community do not. There’s a hundred years of propagandizing, and an incredible level of institutional lethargy and corruption to overcome. Chest thumping demands make us look like lunatics to the general public.
        You of course have a personal choice to make as to how you want to approach your own reform efforts. As do all of us. You are free to stick to absolute truth and make what to you seem reasonable demands. Just understand, others may not see things the way you do. And the progress that has been made so far has been made by incremental changers, changes made by people (like many of the people here on a regular basis) who have been fighting against the drug war for decades, not years.
        If it isn’t happening fast enough for you, feel free to go out there and change it. Sitting here criticizing the efforts of others will just make you another kvetching non-participant. We have enough of those.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Scott your argument belongs in the same category as the Know Nothings piece of hysterical rhetoric that we won’t get rid of the black market in its entirety if we re-legalize. We still have to endure criminals bootlegging even though the 21st Amendment was passed, and it leads to the tragedy of stripper polls and the threat to public health of illegal buffets not inspected by the Board of Health. These are the kinds of problems enabled by the re-legalization of drinking alcohol and we can expect more of the same if they re-legalize (some) drugs so we might as well continue to enrich and empower the criminal drugs syndicates which view a satchel of disarticulated human heads as a valid messaging system.

      Sorry old man, you’re not likely to get anyone but fringe lunatics to support your own extremist agenda.

      Though the squads focus on drugs and gangs, they address a few bootlegging cases each year.

      “They pop up every now and then. People want to make a little extra money,” Ware said. “They’ll buy beers and then sell it for two or three times more.”

      In early November, three people were arrested and accused of selling alcohol illegally out of a home on Brown Street. The suspects allegedly were selling beer, wine, mixed drinks and shots of moonshine.

      There was also a buffet and a stripper pole set up at the house, Ware said.

  29. ezrydn says:

    Some of you look to a “president” for the assist. What is it, in history, that leads you to that consideration? It would seem that the only progress we’ve ever made, as a faction, is at the State level.

    So, looking to a president to cause change is like “pissin’ in the wind.” The President is a follower just like the rest. Think about what you heard pre-election and now, post-election. Anything change? Sure as hell did!!

    However, when we move “the People,” we seem to ham-string them. So, again I ask, upon what past facts do you base your hopes on “presidential leadership?”

  30. denmark says:

    It’s the ones running the debate that will be asking the questions and MAYBE give Gary a chance to talk without interruption or camera shots of the other debaters rolling their eyes.

    Let’s remember how manipulated these debates are. No short memories here folks, let’s keep the images and memories of past debates alive.
    And, … any money Johnson raises goes to the Democratic party if he doesn’t get the nomination. It’s a game we helped create and it disgusts me that it continues.

  31. says:

    The medical marijuana industry is booming, even though the nation is in one of the worst recessions in history. It is unbelievable the federal government is still spending OUR TAXPAYER MONEY to shut down one of the only areas of our economy that is currently thriving. Unbelievable! Support medical marijuana at

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Did you account for the business that simply moved from being black market revenue to becoming revenue of the medicinal cannabis retail distribution chain? This one I liken to the Know Nothings hysterical rhetoric that says that dispensaries and medicinal cannabis generate crime, when in reality the only thing being generated are police reports. In February a guy from SoCal was robbed of 25 lbs of cannabis destined to restock the medicinal cannabis vendors. O my, were people calling him stupid, and me too after I mentioned that since Kelly v State of California (2008) was settled that if he had the right paperwork that he would be legal. In March the LAPD had verified that it was indeed the case.

      The only difference between now and 20 years ago is that the victim wouldn’t have called the police. Shit, the vendors will even call the local police and demand that the DEA agents who confiscated his pot and hash be arrested for theft.

  32. when people finally got fed up enough with the vietnam war, they didn’t ask for small incremental changes: they demanded full cessation. and they got it.

    the drug war has been going on for 100 years. it is mind-bogglingly wrong and we have all the evidence to prove our case. the guys in LEAP are not ranting — they are presenting the ample evidence and making their case. that is the singular act that every one of us in drug law reform needs to imitate.

    all of you folks enchanted by plodding along are also screaming like banshees over the entirely predictable unraveling of the medical marijuana laws we are watching occur at this very moment.

    we clearly are not going to get this done by taking one step forward and 18 or 20 steps backward.

    so how many more deaths, wasted lives and trillions of dollars are you willing to compromise?

    sadly enough we were actually closer to getting the job done in the early 70s than we are right now.

    lastly, let us all remember that carter, clinton and obama were all acting conciliatory about marijuana — so what exactly have we gained by compromising? absolutely nothing.

    if you compromise with evil what the hell do you think you’ll get? howling banshees, that’s what.

    • darkcycle says:

      Brian, people demanded an end to the Viet Nam War for YEARS. Nixon won his SECOND election promising to end the war. Kennedy got us in there. It certainly didn’t end when people “demanded full cessation.” It ended when a criminal President’s administration was crumbling, and it ended when we finally decided, after failing to “Vietnamize” the war, that we would NOT continue to defend Saigon, the last holdout of the corrupt regime we had propped up until the very LAST MINUTE. When we did that, and Saigon fell, There were still American troops fighting in Vietnam. Just fewer and fewer as the public became more militant in their opposition to the war. I for one remember the scenes of peope fleeing from the roof of the U.S. Embassy, and the Choppers that hauled them being pushed into the ocean to make room for more fleeing people.
      You must have dreamt that other part.

      • looks like you are the one dreaming my good man: nowhere in my post did i say that demanding the end of the war led to an immediate result.

        perhaps you need to read what i write instead of imagining what you want to think i said.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Those that swing for the bleachers have an extremely increased incidence of striking out.

      Below this is the more polite version of “life is like a shit sandwich. The more bread you have the less shit you have to eat”:

      Remember, life is just like a tree full of monkeys. When you’re on the top branch all that you see when looking down is a sea of smiling faces. But when you’re on the lowest branch all you can see are assholes.

  33. darkcycle says:

    So go for it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, more power to ya. I get tired of hearing you run down the efforts of the other people in this movement. That you can stop any old time. I may think Nadelmann’s a tool too, but I don’t run around telling everybody that I think what he does is wrong. I don’t give to Nadelmann, I don’t comment on his blog, and I do things differently where my own efforts are concerned. He’s got the right aim, and he’s out there with his own neck doing it. And as long as we’re fighting for the same thing, he can conduct his business any way he sees fit.
    But you, you’ve got something to say, don’t you.

  34. darkcycle says:

    “Enchanted by podding along” you’re confused. I haven’t got time for plodding. But shit don’t happen just ’cause I say so. Maybe you’re different. Out.

  35. Is Gary Johnson a freemason?

  36. DdC says:

    I missed some of the fox debate but what I saw was as I predicted. Nothing ask, nothing answered about the Ganjawar. When given the opportunity to speak freely, Johnson talked about mountain climbing. Looks like fox is backing Polenty but the debate went to some outsider… Caine wingnut. Overall looks like Obombo.

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