New details of Johnson's pot-smoking past
December 6th, 2010
04:13 PM ET
12 years ago

New details of Johnson's pot-smoking past

(CNN) - Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson hasn't been shy about smoking marijuana in the past, but a new interview reveals that this past may not be so distant. In an interview with The Weekly Standard released Monday, Johnson admits that he smoked marijuana recently for medicinal purposes.

Johnson is an avid supporter of the legalization of marijuana and the revelation that it's a part of his past isn't a new one. When asked if he ever smoked marijuana, he referenced Bill Clinton circa 1992 to The New Republic in November, saying "I never exhaled." But The Weekly Standard prompted a response from Johnson that puts his use of marijuana within the last two years: "It's not anything I volunteer, but you're the only person that actually asked about it," he said, "But for luck, I guess, I wasn't arrested."

Johnson, a libertarian who governed New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, suffered pain resulting from a paragliding accident in 2005. "Rather than using painkillers, which I have used on occasion before, I did smoke pot, as a result of having broken my back, blowing out both of my knees, breaking ribs, really taking about three years to recover," he admitted.

Since past use of painkillers caused unpleasant side effects as well as difficult withdrawals, Johnson told The Weekly Standard that "someone" who cared for him gave him marijuana to deal with the pain, divulging that he used it from 2005-2008.

Gov. Gary Johnson is an atypical Republican who suggests cutting the defense budget by as much as 90 percent, stating that Iran's nuclear program isn't a threat to the U.S., and favoring abortion in most cases. He hasn't spelled it out his future intentions in so many words, and his political advocacy organization Our America Initiative, is a small obstacle to overcome, due to its tax status and ability to receive unlimited donations from both individuals and corporations. Still, he's the only rumored 2012 presidential candidate with an outspoken history of advocating for the legalization of marijuana, another fact that sets him apart from the rest of the GOP presidential pack of contenders.

Filed under: 2012 • New Mexico
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Chas in Iowa

    This guy has to move on,.....the GOP has no room for anyone this honest.

    December 6, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Franklin

    Let's have a chicken in every pot, and pot in the White House. YIPPIE!

    December 6, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Don't worry folks. You can unbunch your panties, because the GOP and "news" media won't be flipping out about this. After all, IOKIYAR.

    December 6, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "They were tax cuts when they originally happened. Stop trying to deceive the American people."

    They were also TEMPORARY when they oroginally happened, which means (a) your taking them out of context, (b) not telling the full story, (c) failing to acknowledge relevant facts material to the substantive issue in order to prend like your talking point is the answer and (d) trying to deceive the American people. Have a crappy day!

    December 6, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Bill Moore

    Hmm, a Republican who supports personal responsibility in all aspects of our lives instead of just our money. Sounds good to me.

    December 6, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Proud American

    I say without hesitation that Gary Johnson would be the most popular president in the past 100 years. Freedom for the individual is a very powerful platform, and Johnson has it cornered.

    December 6, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Ronnie Rayz

    GOP- Great Original Pot party...........honesty wont work for the GOP in this situation.......

    December 6, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Mr. Addams

    It will be good to have someone this honest in the running in 2012!

    December 6, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. eai_seer

    I think this story is incorrect - I believe that Bill Clinton said "I never inhaled" - not exhaled ...

    December 6, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. annie s

    Wow, a cool Republican. Who'd have thunk it?

    December 6, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. usd2watch

    Consistent with everything we have learned so far about Gov. Johnson, he is not a hypocrite and is not a coward. He calls the kettle black, even if it's a bong and he's using it! His ascension into the national spotlight is exactly what this country needs right now, GOP blah blah blah, anyone noticed how screwed up the GOP has been for the last 100 yrs or so. From Gary Johnson's "Seven Principles of Good Government" Principle 2. Be Honest to all people all of the time, Principle 6. Anything that could be revealed eventually, should be revealed immediately. Gary Johnson walks the talk and it may take some time for America to realize that is what we need, we've been brainwashed for so long into the marketing of America. ISome of us are ready for the reality and everything that comes with it.

    December 6, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. denbee

    Should Mr.Johnson decide to run for the White House I will vote for him. I am 61 years old and like Mr. Johnson, I never exhaled either! I have watched both my mother and father die from alcohol and tobacco use and although I miss them I am proud that over 40 years ago I decided not to be like them and I choose to put the bottle down and use cannabis instead. My choice largely kept me from the wonderful attributes of alcohol abuse...blackouts, liver damage, stupidity, peeing on myself and others, puking and violence. I suspect if cannabis were legal that millions on people would do the same as I did. Therein is why cannabis remains illegal. The world of martini's seems to be very, very afraid of legal cannabis...GASP! More bud less budwieser. As a society we need to break alcohol's unhealthy monopoly on this country and give our citizens a choice, a safer choice. Mr. Johnson will be one of my "safer choices" also. I am very tired of our current flock of political goats. Honesty goes a long way with over 25- 35 million other cannabis users too. Good luck Mr. Johnson. This just may be interesting!

    December 6, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. David in Chicago

    How refreshing, a candidate (I won't besmirch the man by calling him a politician) who has the courage to be honest and stand by his beliefs despite the fact that those beliefs may cost him some votes. Out of all the potential candidates for 2012, including Obama, Johnson is the most frank and candid of the bunch as evidenced by The Weekly Standard's piece. He won't make unachievable promises or blow sunshine, but he will provide a very pragmatic approach to the issues facing this country. In this day and age, it seems pretty hard to believe that smoking pot is going to be a deal breaker for the voters. Anyone who has ever smoked it or read a scientific study on it realizes it is safer than alcohol.

    December 6, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |