Johnson Hints That Drug Reform Will Be His Career 

  Johnson Hints That Drug Reform Will Be His Career 

Posted by FoM on March 03, 2002 at 11:55:53 PT
By  Gilbert Gallegos, Tribune Reporter 
Source: Albuquerque Tribune 

Gov. Gary Johnson further hinted that he may make a career of fighting against the "War on Drugs" after he leaves office.After signing the final drug-policy reform bills as governor of New Mexico, Johnson acknowledged Friday that he is weighing several options for continuing his crusade. He declined to say specifically what those offers are, although he admitted some options are "potentially" national in scope.
"I've just got some things in the works," Johnson said during a news conference after signing the bills. "And until they actually come to fruition, and we actually dot an `i' or cross a `t' on some of them, I'd just as soon not (comment)."During past interviews, Johnson, a Republican who is in his eighth and final year in office, has only said he will retire from politics when he leaves the Governor's Office - the only elected position he has ever served. The former business owner plans to live in Taos.Johnson did say Friday that he will continue to make speeches about drug-policy reform during the final 10 months in office.For example, he is going to address the state Libertarian party conventions in Massachusetts and Wisconsin in April.Drug reform is on the agenda, Johnson said.However, Johnson slapped down speculation that he might use his national exposure on the drug-reform issue to run for the Libertarian Party's nomination as a candidate for president in 2004."If I were ever to do that (run for president) I would want to win," he said. "And I really think that the Libertarian candidate doesn't have that chance."Legislators, mostly Republicans, who have been critical of Johnson's stance on drugs have accused the governor of ignoring more important issues while he is away from the state giving speeches.Some have said Johnson is more concerned with advancing his pet issue, and perhaps his career once he leaves office, than with resolving differences with legislators.Johnson's last chance at easing the state's drug laws ended when the Legislature adjourned in mid-February.Legislators passed three of the six pieces of Johnson's drug-reform package during the recent 30-day session.Those bills, which will become law now that Johnson has signed them, no longer allow police to seize assets of drug offenders unless they are convicted of a crime; give judges more flexibility when sentencing people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses (July 1); and allow convicted drug offenders to be eligible for federal benefits, such as welfare or food stamps (effective date is unclear).Johnson also signed one other bill, which he characterized as a drug-reform measure, that could potentially ease overcrowding in prisons. Nonviolent drug offenders in the final 180 days of their sentences could walk out of prison if the population reaches 100 percent of capacity under the bill, sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart, a Northeast Heights Democrat.The bill becomes law immediately.Johnson said he was disappointed that the three most important pieces of his package were rejected by legislators.Legislators killed bills that would have legalized marijuana for some medical patients, decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and allowed judges to send some nonviolent drug offenders to treatment rather than putting them in jail.Former Gov. Toney Anaya, who lobbied on behalf of the governor's drug-reform plan, said he hopes the effort will continue even after Johnson leaves office."I think all of these have laid the groundwork," Anaya said of the legislation passed this year and in 2001. "And I would hope that future legislatures and future governors will step up to the plate and complete the work that has been started here."Source: Albuquerque Tribune (NM)Author: Gilbert Gallegos, Tribune ReporterPublished: March 2, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Albuquerque TribuneContact: letters abqtrib.comWebsite: Articles:Drug-Reform Lobbyist Admits Error Might Sign Drug Reform Bills

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Comment #21 posted by FoM on March 05, 2002 at 16:12:12 PT
Now that makes sense. Maybe it was a Green not a Libertarian in the joke. Old age is catching up to me.
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Comment #20 posted by Jose Melendez on March 05, 2002 at 15:59:09 PT:
A mugging is a mugging is a mugging...
When does a Republican vote Libertarian? After the no-knock raid.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on March 05, 2002 at 13:51:12 PT
Just a Note
I hope my post makes sense. Maybe I forgot the joke and said it wrong because I dont get it now. Maybe that's why I'm for the best man as I see him and not a party. There I feel better.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on March 05, 2002 at 13:34:34 PT
Gary Johnson is a Republican. He has spent his political life as a Republican. One thing I've learned since I've gotten older is it's best to grow where you are planted. I hope that makes sense? I heard a joke on PI a long time ago about Republicans and Libertarians.When does a Libertarian become a Republican? When he gets mugged.That was close to the joke but that's how close the true Republican Party and the Libertarian Party are. They are very close and I hope they both want Governor Johnson and I believe he is wise enough to make a good decision. My 2 cents.PS: I sound like a politician! Oh No!
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Comment #17 posted by Doc-Hawk on March 05, 2002 at 13:23:29 PT:
Run Gary Run...and make them uncomfortable too
I must agree with the commenters, that Gary should run, but maybe as a Republican or independent. I'm a card-carrying Libertarian, but see him shunted aside as a kook if he chooses the Libertarian path.I prefer Republican, because then he would be up against the powers-that-be in a direct manner. It would sure blow Shrubya's mind ... well that shouldn't be too hard. It also would FORCE some dialogue.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on March 05, 2002 at 10:48:10 PT
Draft Gary Johnson for President
"Draft Gary Johnson for President" hosted on the web by, the free online petition
service, at:
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Comment #15 posted by Rev0x on March 05, 2002 at 10:44:29 PT
Someone e-mail this guy...
...and tell him to run for *bleep*in' president. VOTE Gary *bleep*in' Johnson for PRESIDENT!!!
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Comment #14 posted by Lehder on March 05, 2002 at 07:58:10 PT
whom will people vote for?
the guy who passes out and chokes on a pretzel or the guy who's prepared to climb Everest?
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Comment #13 posted by Lehder on March 05, 2002 at 07:48:46 PT
Johnson for President
The more I think about Johnson either seeking the Republican nomination for president or running as an independent, the more practical it seems, and the more I imagine him as president the more attractive that real possibility seems. He has the opportunity to broaden his appeal to voters by challenging the feds on issues beyond the drug war that are of concern to New Mexicans in particular and to the wider population: federal control of public lands of public lands - grazing fees in NM and abuse of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, federal control of states' rights via highway funds, Bushs' dismantling of environmental regulations, federal policies on immigration and naturalization.On international policies, Johnson can advertise himself as having as much experience as Bush - two terms as governor. And if Johnson applies his cost-benefits analysis to foreign policy he'll surely expose the the destructive and self-serving character of the Bush & Co. perpetual "war on terror."On a personal level there's no comparison at all. Johnson is an honest businessman who made his own fortune by providing good service to customers. This background is going to have tremendous appeal as the Enron investigations drag on. Johnson is a tremendous athlete in superb physical condition and he can even pass a drug test.If he spends the rest of this year broadening his challenge to the feds on a variety of issues he really could win. I could vote for him with confidence that we'd see enormous improvements in every department and a renewed respect for the US throughout the world. Go for it, Governor.
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Comment #12 posted by Lehder on March 04, 2002 at 23:07:49 PT
that's December 2001, of course
Sorry, it's too late to find the article, and I am satisfied that if it involves Bush then it's corrupt. My mind is closed on this matter, thanks.Y ahora dormir, buhos de la noche.
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Comment #11 posted by Lehder on March 04, 2002 at 22:37:15 PT
Gary Johnson
However, Johnson slapped down speculation that he might use his national exposure on the drug-reform issue to run for the Libertarian Party's nomination as a candidate for president in 2004."If I were ever to do that (run for president) I would want to win," he said. "And I really think that the Libertarian candidate doesn't have that chance."Johnson does not have to win the presidency to end the drug war. He needs only to get through the door that was closed to Nader and Browne and debate the war. He could accomplish that in one year, not three, by announcing his candidacy as a Republican at the end of his current term. He's fundamentally a businessman, not a politician, and advertises himself as a "cost-benefits analyst." With scandals like Enron's collapse and its corrupted investigation - overseen by a judge appointed by Bush in December 2002 - Johnson might grow beyond his caricature as a freakish single-issue activist. Best wishes, Governor. 
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Comment #10 posted by jc on March 04, 2002 at 16:26:49 PT:
Johnson for president. He has my vote
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 04, 2002 at 09:51:32 PT
Glad to read you are going to Patients Out of Time and NORML's Conference. I have a dream. No not really but I would love to give Governor Johnson a big thank you hug someday. I have the upmost respect for him. I'm not in a position to be away from home except for only a short time so I can't go but I hope for great reports. My father in law is in the Hospice Program and leaving him for even short periods of time is very hard. I also wouldn't know how to do the news if I was away from the computer and I don't want to ever neglect what I feel is important for me to do. 
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Comment #8 posted by el_toonces on March 04, 2002 at 08:29:49 PT:
FoM - Johnson lovefest
I too find the Gov. very inspiring. My brother who writes for a triathlon magazine I think has arranged to interview the Gov. on that sport. I would like to talk with him about his other plans.....And because of FoM 's wonderful site I've been inspired to a little activism myself - planning on going to NORML and Patients Out of Time conferences. We must win!El
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 04, 2002 at 07:46:18 PT

You're so sweet. I love all of you here too. You all are a special group of people. I know there are younger people that are all fired up and people who are older who don't have the spit fire that youngins do and maybe we will be able to inspire young potential political people to jump in and take care of this drug policy problem so we won't need to build geriatric prison for all of us old hippies.

He's an old hippie
And he don't know what to do
Should he hang on to the old
Should he grab on to the new
He's an old hippie
His new life is just a bust
He ain't trying to change nobody
He just trying real hard to adjust

He was sure back in the sixties
That everyone was hip
Then they sent him off to Vietnam
On his senior trip
And they forced him to become a man
While he was still a boy
And in each wave of tragedy
He waited for the joy
Now this world may change around him
But he just can't change no more
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on March 04, 2002 at 07:00:51 PT

Do you really want to rattle some cages?
Seriously folks, do you?I've got a very simple way to do that...and it will literally rock the foundations of the DemoPublican machine. It will send a message that cannot be ignored unless they wish to commit political suicide. And, mark my words, it will achieve in large part what we want...without any violence. You don't have to worry about going to jail, or your house being raided, or anything else that happens to up-front activists challenging the Good Ol' Boys.What is it? VOTER REGISTRATION.An aggressive voter registration movement on campuses nation wide...not to mention at every Hempfest, every Rainbow gathering, every place which idealism trumps stodgy old business as usual. And the beauty of it all is, those who register don't necessarily have to vote; all they have to do is register to.Needless to say, I am not talking registering for the DemoPublican Party. Those corrupt old dinosaurs are only hanging on by force majeure, cold-dead-hand control of the machinery. So, with this in mind, how can this little scheme work?Simple: when the pols realize that these energetic voter registration workers are NOT 'their people', they will begin to ask some questions of them. And the answers will prove quite frightening to them.Imagine what would happen if millions of new voters...were registered as Green or Libber. And if older voters, disgusted at their treatment at the hands of the Ol' F*rt Brigade, decided to change party affilations? The antis are fond of 'sending messages'; imagine the message that this would send, when the majority of new registered voters...are not registering as Grumpy Ol' Poops and Jackasses. The pols will, of course, publicly make noises about how ineffective it seems...while quietly sending representatives to try to get the registration people to knock it off, as it threatens their little satrapies. But since the regsitration folks have no main connections with the dinosaurs, there will be no incentive to do so. And such publicity, (even in this overly homogenized news environment where lots of inconvenient news items not matching corporate agendas falls through the cracks) would not be welcome to the dinosaurs; they have pushed things enough with this PATRIOT legislation crap, and some are aware of how angry many American's are.Mass voter registrations as alternative party members would send shock waves throughout a structure that has de-legitimized itself with the 2000 presidential election. The Poops and Jackasses know that the average person believes the system hopelessly rigged in favor of them, but because no alternatives are presented using mass media, most of the electorate simply has no idea that something else exists. An aggressive voter registration effort would be the equivalent of the 2 by 4 applied to the dominant One-Party system's skull...and would carry a powerful message. One the pols would be loathe to ignore.
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Comment #5 posted by Elfman_420 on March 03, 2002 at 23:38:11 PT

I remember writing to the governor a couple years ago reguarding my support of his stance on drug decrimanlization. This was before I ever tried cannabis, but was very interested in the topic. I was so proud when I actually got a non-form-type letter back from him!My parents, however, were not as impressed. He was a big inspiration for me at that time. Drug prohibition didn't make sense to me, but I was still in my sheltered mix of moderate-conservative-libertarian ideology. I had no idea at the time that drug prohibition was a big libertarian issue. I hope some day I will be in position to do something like run for office to further the cause. Though, hopefully by that time most of the work will have been done. For those of you who are older and in such a position to do something, do it! Please! My generation needs politicians to rally behind. About half of the people I asked at college last year during the election had voted for Nader. Overall, Nader got less than 5%. Have a crescent fresh day.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 03, 2002 at 22:28:48 PT

Very well said. I want to add that Governor Johnson has everything it takes to be a great representative for drug policy reform in whatever capacity he chooses. What I like about Gary Johnson is he is a humble man. He is humble but you can tell he has a good stubborn streak. You have to have those qualities to survive in politics and make a difference and we know he sure has.
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Comment #3 posted by SoberStoner on March 03, 2002 at 22:07:10 PT:

My fiancee and I were just talking and I've always somehow though of doing some sort of public service..and i mentioned how things have been going and how i've been thinking of maybe running for office somewhere..and she said i'd be good at it..and then i read this thread. I firmly believe that we dont have enough true activists in our movement.  Over 1/3 of americans today have tried cannabis and yet people who DO smoke of are thought of as 'a fringe group' If you can get 33 percent of the population (most of whom do not or have not voted) to vote for you, you have an excellent chance of winning because a 33% voting block is a HUGE advantage in an election. Why do you think the black vote is SO important in an election. Most political analysts say Clinton was elected because he won the black vote. What percent of the prison population is young black males who are there on non-violent drug charges? What if someone finally stood and told the truth??
What if someone said that cannabis was only criminalized because, someone (Harry Arslinger) testified BEFORE CONGRESS that, "coloreds" lured white women to sexual relations by using marijuana??? Thats what was said folks..One of the main reasons cannibis was outlawed was because this country was run by racist white men who gasped when they thought about blacks and whites having sex?What if you told all those black mothers (older people are more likely to vote) that you were going to let their sons out of jail and that they should have never been there to begin with??I've thought about running for office..I think i might actually be able to win a local election...but i know i wouldnt last long in a state or national election..I would say the wrong things about certain subjects and suddenly i'd 'disappear' and you'd never hear from me again..I'd say the truth..and you cant take on the tobacco industry, the alcohol industry, pharmacutecals, and oil companies all at's almost impossible to win a major election without money and they'll throw anything they got at keeping ANYONE who preaches the truth about cannabis out of office...unless you go out there and get that 33% of the cannabis voters to the ballot box with YOUR name in their head...i dont think a republican or democrat will do that..and they are the only parties who get any major cash. I dunno...i'd love to be able to do something, and local victories are still victories..we need people to run at ANY level and help change the system from the inside out.I can think of a few people who should run as well. We need everyone to do SOMETHING, even if it's just talking to people you know about the virtues of cannabis and the truth about it and it's prohibition. The people in power preach about 'drug education' and thats what will win this war, education. Educate yourself, educate someone you know. Educate the world about cannabis and someday our dreams will become a reality.Sorry if this rambles on a bit...But something about Johnson really inspires me. I really think he could be setting himself up to see how the libertarians do in the next election, especially after the ad campaign. If they dont do well, i think he'll try to affiliate himself with republicans or democrats and win their nomination. If they DO do well however...Either way, i severely doubt this will be the last we hear from him. With the recent victory in Scotland, it's time for us on this side of the pond to wake up and see how other countries are doing it...they arent breaking the law because they are changing it. Find a way to contribute and do it. Either run for office, or vote for those that do. If we elect enough of ourselves to office, we'll just change the law ourselves!SS
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 03, 2002 at 19:43:50 PT

Nuevo Mexican 
Do you love me? If you say yes you'll know why I wouldn't run for any office in politics. I liked being loved! LOL!Seriously though for others here that is a very good suggestion!
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Comment #1 posted by Nuevo Mexican on March 03, 2002 at 19:34:12 PT

Run Gary Run!
As a Green or Libertarian. He could win any race he enters with his common sense attitude. Granted. I don't agree with vouchers, but on the important issue of drug reform he rates and A+. He makes democrats look like they are in on the take, and I'm sure they are, at least in these parts. Maybe readers and posters here at C-News should run for office in the many uncontested incumbent races that any form of opposition stands a good chance of winning. Just take a bold and risky stand, stand by your words, wait for time to confirm you correctness and boom, more Gary Johnsons instantly! Think about it everybody and post your suggestions!
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