Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson has been gaining support from voters who formerly supported Bernie Sanders. Frustrated and disappointed with the democratic nomination of Hillary Clinton, some Bernie supporters have now come out in favor of Johnson because of one key issue. Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico, says he would completely legalize cannabis if elected.
Johnson has never been shy about his support for legalization and has a solid track record of opposing the war on drugs. In an interview with CNBC, Johnson explains his past use of medical cannabis after a paragliding accident left him in agony. Due to his aversion to painkillers, Johnson sought an alternative in medical cannabis, telling reporters: “I think that it (medical marijuana) absolutely helped me through this period that was really, really difficult.”
As president, Johnson says he would nominate a surgeon general to reschedule cannabis from its current classification of as a Schedule I narcotic that has no medicinal value. This would open the door for much-needed medical marijuana research. Because Johnson is a chief executive of a cannabis company, some have questioned his motives in supporting cannabis legalization. When asked if his stance on legal cannabis was ‘just a ploy to increase his portfolio’, Johnson said it was not.
“No. Not in any way,” he said. “The fact that I got to be the CEO of a publicly traded company in the marijuana space, that was something that was completely unexpected. But very quickly, marijuana products medicinally compete with legal prescription drugs that statistically kill 100,000 people a year. There’s not been one documented death due to marijuana.”
Johnson went on to tell CNBC that the Republican Party was dying, coinciding with the rise and popularity of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Along with courting Bernie supporters and other democrats, the former governor also aims to appeal to republican voters who align closely with his ‘fiscally conservative, socially liberal’ philosophy. Many U.S. voters are fed up with the corrupt, two-party system and are seeking to support a third party, which explains Johnson’s rise in popularity and that of Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Johnson is doing decently in polls, which could earn him a spot in the presidential debates. Why should the presidential debates be limited to two parties? What do you think? Does Johnson deserve a spot in the debates? Are you a former Bernie supporter that now supports the libertarian candidate?