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Gary Johnson: “Legalizing marijuana will lead to less overall substance abuse”

Gary JohnsonWhen it comes to addictive substances, former libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson believes marijuana is a much safer alternative to alcohol — and that the legalization of the drug could actually lead to less substance abuse in general.

The former New Mexico Governor hosted an hour-long Google+ hangout on Tuesday evening, fielding questions on topics such as drones, the Patriot Act, intellectual property rights and grassroots campaigning. He also addressed the issue of marijuana legalization, which he believes is at a “tipping point” thanks to Washington state and Colorado.

“For anyone that does not smoke marijuana and doesn’t want to see others smoke marijuana … half of all the people that that person knows smoke marijuana,” he said.

Johnson, echoing the stance of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said people who smoke marijuana do not belong behind bars. He added that while he does not currently smoke marijuana or drink alcohol, he did when he was younger.

“For me, marijuana was a much safer alternative than alcohol,” he said. “I would really believe that legalizing marijuana will lead to less overall substance abuse because currently individuals that are having problems with alcohol or other substances will find marijuana such a safer alternative.”

The former Governor also said he sees the potential for drones to be used in the War on Drugs, something that worries him.

When asked about the possibility of being selected as the Vice Presidential running mate for Paul — should the Kentucky Republican decide to run for President in 2016 — Johnson rebuffed the idea. The former Governor said he disagreed with some of Paul’s stances, such as blocking immigration reform and limiting student visas. Ultimately, however, Johnson said Paul wouldn’t pick him as his running mate.

“Rand Paul is not going to ask me to be his running mate,” the former Governor said with a laugh. “Period.”


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