Elections
In this Sept. 21, 2012 photo, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, right, greets  students at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File) In this Sept. 21, 2012 photo, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, right, greets students at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)  

Gary Johnson hopes media experiences ‘pants-down phenomenon’ on Election Day

Photo of Gregg Re
Gregg Re
Associate Editor

You’ve done three “Ask me Anything” interviews on Reddit, a site heavily involved in the drug culture. How will your administration handle the drug war, starting on day one?

I would de-schedule marijuana as a narcotic, completely. I would embark on a process of pardoning individuals those individuals who have been convicted — undergo a process of commuting sentences for those who are in jail for nonviolent, victimless crime. And I don’t view selling drugs as having victims. I think drug sellers are just users that get thrust into the selling role. …

It’s a state issue, just like alcohol. There are still dry counties in this country. The reality is, I think Colorado is going to pass Prop 64 — and when they do, I think they’re the first of the 50 states to bring an end to the prohibition of marijuana. And the reality of that’s going to be, when everyone in the country starts getting on an airplane and going to Denver on the weekends to chill out, every state’s going to catch on and start changing their laws. This is so parallel to alcohol prohibition, when New York said, hey, we’re not going to enforce federal prohibition laws. Feds, if you want to have at it, you come have at it. But, as a state, we’re not going to do it anymore.

Do you want to legalize all drugs?

It gets more complex when you start moving down the line. First of all, if we legalized all drugs tomorrow, the world would be a better place. A much better place. 90 percent of the drug problem is prohibition-related, not use related. That’s not to discount the problems with use and abuse, but that should be the focus. We’re not going to go from A-Z, but we’re going to start with A-M, marijuana. We’re going to legalize marijuana. When people realize the sky isn’t falling, and the world’s a better place, and police are enforcing real crime — then we’re going to move onto other drugs.

The drug issue isn’t very high on most voters’ list of priorities.

The main issue is the economy.

Right. Why is it that people have the perception that you’re the drug candidate, and Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are the ones who focus on the economy? How badly does that hurt you?

I completely agree with you, that that’s the perception. But the reality is anything but. I mean, I don’t even talk about it. … I think we’re going to suffer a monetary collapse if we don’t balance the federal budget. So, I’m advocating balancing the federal budget, and everything that goes into that — the entitlements, military spending — and I’m advocating eliminating the income tax, corporate tax, abolishing the IRS, and replacing all of that with one federal consumption tax. I am embracing the fair tax, I think that’s a terrific starting point.

But I was on Neil Cavuto, and Neil goes, governor, you need to stop talking about drugs, because you’re so good on all these issues. Well, Neil, who’s the one talking about drugs?