Anti-Drug-War Advocate Gary Johnson Will Now Run for President as a Libertarian, Not a Republican

 Politico reports that the former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson,  will drop out of the Republican primary for President, and instead seek election under the Libertarian Party ticket. The switch may not be of interest to strict Leftist voters, but drug policy reformists keep a close eye on his campaign: Johnson is a strong advocate for legalizing marijuana and utilizing harm reduction, or  treating drug abuse as a health problem. 

From his website:

Abuse of hard drugs is a health problem that should be dealt with by health experts, not a problem that should be clogging up our courts, jails, and prisons with addicts. Instead of continuing to arrest and incarcerate drug users, we should seriously consider the examples of countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands, and we should ultimately choose to adopt policies which aim to reduce death, disease, violence, and crime associated with dangerous drugs.

Honest, effective education will be key to succeeding with this transition. America has cut teen cigarette use in half, not by criminalizing possession and use, but through a combination of honest education and sensible regulation.

But don't call him pro-drug:

We have all been raised to believe that there are only two camps in the drug policy universe -- "pro-drug" and "anti-drug" -- and that any person who does not support the "War on Drugs" is automatically "pro-drug." This simply isn't the case.

While his drug policy may be appealing to more Leftist voters, Johnson is still an advocate for austerity, and wants to keep the government out of education. Perhaps a more progressive stance, he says the Patriot Act should be allowed to expire, and is also pro gay marriage. 

Politico says Johnson's party ticket switch is no surprise: 

The move has been expected for weeks — Johnson had run a New Hampshire-centric effort that never got him past a blip in the polls. He appeared at only two nationally televised debates, and only one in which other major candidates took part.

Johnson expressed deep disillusionment with the process as his libertarian message failed to catch fire and he received almost no attention for his bid. He soon began flirting with the Libertarians when it became clear that he was gaining no traction in GOP primaries.

According to Politico, Johnson will hold a press conference to announce the party switch on December 28th. 

Read more about Johnson's drug policy position here.

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at December 21, 2011, 8:53am