12:47pm May 3, 2013

Gary Johnson Slams the War On Drugs


Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson made an interesting point about drug prohibition.

That is, that the substances within illegal drugs — such as those laced with things like PCP, LSD, and God knows what and are a surprise to the buyer of those illegal drugs – would not be such a surprise if some drugs were legalized, he asserted.

“You wanted to smoke a little beer weed and you smoked some LSD weed,” Johnson recalls telling a man who experienced psychedelic effects after using marijuana without knowing what was in it. “Quantity, quality unknown. This is a prohibition phenomenon.”

Johnson’s argument seemed to imply that because drugs will be bought on a legal market that they will be regulated and advertisers would actually have to sell what is advertised, unlike the drug dealers who can sell illegal drugs with whatever “unadvertised” elements mixed in and no legal recourse for “false advertisement.”

In other words, druggies aren’t necessarily promised what they pay for with the status quo. At least they could sue with drugs legalized.

Johnson said drug legalization should begin with marijuana and that he thinks marijuana should be legalized immediately.

“The world isn’t going to end,” Johnson said. “Police are going to actually go out and actually enforce real crime tomorrow as opposed to non-violent victimless crime.”

He admitted to using marijuana and alcohol in the past although he no longer does so.

“I found pot such a safer alternative than alcohol,” he said.

“I have always said that marijuana will lead to less overall substance abuse because people will find it such a safer alternative than alcohol,” he continued. He added he thinks 90 percent of what he calls “the drug problem” is “prohibition-related” and not “use related.”

“And that is not to discount the problems with use and abuse,” he said.

He recalls meeting with judges in Portland, Oregon who told him about methamphetamine.

“They said methamphetamine is really a horrible drug,” he recalls.

“Methamphetamine is the best example we can think of of a prohibition drug,” he continued to recall the judges as saying. “It wouldn’t exist except for prohibition because its cheap and it’s easy to make.”

On heroin, he noted Zurich, Switzerland’s “heroin maintenance program.”

According to DrugWarFacts.org, the program involved strict regulation and “controlled prescription” of heroin.

The site claims with citations galore that the program has had numerous positive health outcomes such as reducing or eliminating illegal drug use, avoiding illness and death by overdose of illegal drugs “by ensuring access to a drug of known quality and strength,” and reducing crime related to obtaining drugs (such as when a burglar breaks in a home to steal an item which he or she then sells on the street just to pay for a “fix” of the drug.)

Johnson made his comments at George Washington University on Monday. He ran as the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 2012 and did not speak at the university to campaign for 2016. He has not announced a 2016 presidential run.

About the Author

Christopher Goins
Christopher Goins


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