Gary Johnson is the only presidential hopeful who has admitted to getting high on the campaign trail. In an interview with the Daily Caller, Johnson said while he has't had a drink in decades, he'd recently dabbled with edibles, munching on marijuana infused candy.
The former New Mexico governor who is currently seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination made headlines after boldly predicting the Obama administration would remove marijuana from its Schedule I listing before relinquishing the keys to the Oval Office in 2017.
“It’s going to be just like alcohol,” Johnson said in ant interview with The Washington Times. “I’m going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he’s going to do that going out the door. That’s a positive."
While President Obama does not appear to have any plans to reform the federal marijuana laws, Johnson seems to believe that the Commander in Chief will soon surprise cannabis advocates all across the United States by removing the herb from the confines of its Schedule I classification.
Although all of the remaining presidential candidates have tendered their support for the concept of allowing states the right to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, Johnson, who recently resigned as CEO for the medical marijuana firm Cannabis Sativa, Inc. to focus on his presidential run, takes his stance on the issue a step further by suggesting that weed should taxed and regulated at the national level in a manner similar to the brewing industry.
However, in order for weed to be sold in retail outlets similar to beer at the national level, the DEA would first have to eliminate cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act – an action that Johnson predicts is going to take place within the next year. But, while this speculation is encouraging, Johnson’s wager on the issue is likely way off. After all, back in 2014, President Obama suggested that “what is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress,” telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that it was not up to his administration to change the marijuana laws in the United States.
Additional hints that Obama has no interest in leading efforts of federal pot reform came earlier this year, when White House press secretary John Earnest told reporters that the president wasn’t planning to do anything with marijuana policy before the end of his term.
Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, recently told The Washington Post that President Obama is infamous for passing the buck to Congress in regards to rescheduling marijuana — a clear indication that Obama will probably slide through the rest of his term without exercising his authority on the subject. However, in a recent statement, Angell half-assedly implies that there is still a chance that Obama could shock the nation by getting the ball rolling on the rescheduling process before the next President takes over.
“It’s tough to predict what the president will do on this issue before he leaves office,” Angell said, “but if he’s willing to uphold his pledge to set policy based on science, and he listens to the majority of Americans who support marijuana reform, he will exercise his administrative authority for rescheduling.”
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But even if Johnson is wrong, and President Obama doesn’t eliminate marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act before leaving office, there is still a relatively good chance of getting marijuana rescheduled at the hands of the next president – that is as long as a Republican doesn’t win. Although Bernie Sanders has vowed to bring down prohibition entirely throughout the nation, Hillary Clinton seems to be at least somewhat interested in rescheduling the herb in an effort to facilitate research.
As for Johnson, he believes a national pot market is what would really help make America great again. “Colorado is absolutely vibrant,” he said. “Is it due to marijuana? I think it’s a contributing factor.”
Yet, while marijuana reform is a major platform for Johnson, he isn’t counting on the stoner vote to get him elected. In January, the Libertarian candidate told The Daily Caller that securing the pothead vote was useless because they never turn up at the polls.
“When you go back four years ago when I was running for president on the Republican side,” Johnson explained, “I made the statement that if everyone that smoked marijuana gave me a dollar, I’d have $150 million dollars in my coffer. None of that happened. It is a big zero when it comes to the ballot box. Is it the right thing to be advocating? Absolutely. But does it result in political benefits? I haven’t seen it.”