Former Gov. Gary Johnson Takes On The Marijuana Industry

Justin Smith Contributor
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Former governor and presidential candidate Gary Johnson is doing something that no successful politician has done before: he is venturing into the world of drugs.

Johnson has just been named CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc., a Nevada-based recreational marijuana company that will make marijuana-based oils proven to help illnesses such as epilepsy. The company will also make cough-drop-like edible candies in order to provide a pleasant alternative to smoking marijuana.

Johnson is the former Republican governor of New Mexico and the 2012 presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. He has always been a proponent of the drug’s legalization, and is fully invested in his new role as CEO. “I’m getting paid $1 a year to be president and CEO of this company, but I am getting stock so the only way I make money is if shareholders make money,” Johnson told CBS affiliate KRQE.

The former Governor said he was attracted to the company because they placed an emphasis on creating edible alternatives to smoking marijuana. “I have a real aversion to smoking marijuana, I think most people have an aversion to smoking, period. I’ve tried the product and my reaction is, number one, why would anybody ever smoke marijuana given this as an alternative?” Johnson said.

Johnson says he hopes to expand the business into a major marijuana distributor, and plans to work out of New Mexico while helping to develop products. “I generally believe this is changing the planet for the better,” Johnson told the Associated Press.

Marijuana is only legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, however, it is allowed in a medical capacity in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Despite this, Johnson is confident things will soon change. “I think in 10 years, for the most part, the U.S. will legalize marijuana. And what the U.S. does, so does the world,” Johnson said.

Cannibas Sativa also announced on Tuesday that Steve Kubby, the 1998 Libertarian nominee for Governor of California, would be a chairman. Kubby is the founder of a marijuana research business called Kush, which was recently acquired by Johnson’s company.