“Let’s end the unworkable marijuana prohibition and put our money where our mouth is. Let’s solve the problems like border crime. We can do it with pot legalization.”
- Gary Johnson, Presidential candidate — Libertarian party
Within the United States, polling the American public to get its pulse on certain political topics has been a tried and tested tool for many candidates seeking political office. As we have seen within the last 12 months, the American sentiment towards the marijuana plant and its legalization has cultivated a strong following. As the often cited Gallup poll demonstrates, approximately 50% of Americans are under the impression that marijuana should be legalized. Yet, neither of the major parties candidate concurs – with the exception of independent Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson.
As Gary Johnson sees it, during this political season there is a clear chasm between what the American public wants, and what the Democratic and Republican Parties are willing to offer. As such, Johnson sees a distinct and unattended need festering in the current political debate — the legalization of marijuana.
When one hears Gary Johnson speak on the topic of marijuana legalization, there appears to be something more than just a political calculation on his mind. Candidate Johnson had an epiphany back in 1999, when he was in his second term as Republican Gov. of the border state of New Mexico. Living in a border state, in addition to being the governor, gave Johnson a firsthand look at the epic failure in America’s war on drugs. When then Gov. Johnson made his initial announcement regarding his stance on the war on drugs, his approval rating immediately hit the skids and slid 30 points. As the national denunciations by prominent political figures poured into the Gov.’s office, from both sides of the aisle, condemnation rained down. Despite the shit storm within the “political world”…his constituents warmly embraced his crossing over to the side of common sense and human decency. Gov. Johnson received e-mails, phone calls, faxes and even letters sent via snail mail from his voting supporters.
It is with this acquired history that Gov. Gary Johnson has attained his goal – credibility within the Libertarian party, whose movement he has now embraced. While Gov. Johnson is a noteworthy candidate on the national level, he has yet to gain the same enthusiastic support as those following Representative Ron Paul. (*Interesting side note: while both Ron Paul and Gary Johnson support marijuana legalization and Ron Paul was the candidate for the Libertarian party back in 1988. Ron Paul has declined to endorse and anoint Gary Johnson, as the Libertarian candidate, for the President of the United States of America.)
During the 2008 presidential race, the Libertarian party managed to only extract 523,713 votes from the American public totaling only . 40%. Not even half of 1% of the American public even knew that Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn root existed. It is against this backdrop that Gary Johnson’s chances begin to look relatively bleak. Currently Gov. Johnson is only qualified to appear on the ballot in 47 states. While his campaign is fighting vigorously to be included in the remaining three; Oklahoma, Michigan and Pennsylvania all remain holdouts.
As Gov. Johnson disseminates his logic on marijuana legalization within the national press, his overall approval rating, while not overtly high, has gone up to 4%. And that could be a game changer for one of the major party candidates.