Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is thinking about making another White House bid in 2016, but he won’t let that stop him from getting into the recreational and medicinal marijuana business.
In fact, Johnson told Business Insider the reaction to Tuesday’s announcement he is heading a cannabis company has been amazing.
“I’m in Las Vegas on my way to Los Angeles and I went through the Albuquerque Airport. Everybody gave me a high five,” Johnson said in a phone interview Thursday. “Right now, everywhere I’m going it’s a high five. It’s really cool. I’m viewing this as fun. And of course it will also involve a lot of work. I also genuinely believe that this company will contribute.”
On Tuesday, Johnson was named CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., which will produce lozenges and creams in states like Colorado where the drug can be legally bought and sold. (Johnson said the company got its name because the firm has a “proprietary” strain of sativa cannabis. He described the other main strain, indica, as “go-to-sleep-marijuana,” but he said sativa is “clean your-house-marijuana.”)
Once the legalization movement grows in the United States, Johnson said, marijuana product companies like his will be able to eventually market their products worldwide.
“That makes the world a better place. Conceivably, in 20 years, 20%-plus of pharmaceuticals will end up being cannabis-based. Then, if you can go on the recreational side, I’ve always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to less substance abuse,” he said.
Johnson predicted the drug will eventually be legal throughout the United States.
“The entire country is going to legalise marijuana. Alabama, Mississippi, maybe those are the two holdouts,” he said.
Johnson went on to argue marijuana compares favourably to other intoxicants like alcohol.
“I haven’t had a drink of alcohol for 27 years now and the reason is .. it was just something that I viewed as a handicap and the first time I smoked marijuana as a 17-year old, the first thing that struck me was, ‘Holy cow this is great!'” he exclaimed. “I was an athlete then … and there’s no side effects! There’s no side effects! Yeah, there’s the great, great buzz and you wake up the next morning and it’s as clear as can be.”
Johnson, who started out in 2012 as a Republican presidential nominee but eventually ran as a Libertarian, also said he hopes his new business won’t be held against him if he makes another bid for the White House. In contrast, he said politicians like Hillary Clinton who have a cautious wait-and-see approach to marijuana are “way out of touch.”
Business Insider also asked Johnson if he could name a marijuana strain after any politician, which one he would choose.
“It would have to be me,” he said.
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