Gary Johnson Is Now CEO of a Marijuana Company. And He Wants to Run for President.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.
National Journal
Emma Roller
Add to Briefcase
Emma Roller
July 2, 2014, 9:19 a.m.

If we play our cards right, we might get to see the CEO of a marijuana busi­ness run for pres­id­ent in 2016.

On Tues­day, former New Mex­ico Gov. Gary John­son, who ran for pres­id­ent in 2012 as a liber­tari­an can­did­ate, was named CEO of a com­pany in Nevada that sells marijuana products. The com­pany, Can­nabis Sativa, hopes to sell medi­cin­al and re­cre­ation­al marijuana to busi­nesses in Col­or­ado and Wash­ing­ton state, where the drug has been leg­al­ized.

John­son has long been a sup­port­er of med­ic­al marijuana, and hopes to ex­pand Can­nabis Sativa’s busi­ness, which he calls the “creme de la creme” of marijuana products.

But while marijuana may be his pas­sion, John­son has also been vo­cal about re­kind­ling his pres­id­en­tial am­bi­tions. “I hope to be able to run in 2016,” he said in a Red­dit Q&A ses­sion in April. John­son said he would run as a liber­tari­an again, be­cause that way he “would have the least amount of ex­plain­ing to do.”

While a 2016 John­son can­did­acy is low-hanging fruit for pun­dits’ jokes, he does have a fol­low­ing akin to Ron Paul circa 2008. And while re­cre­ation­al marijuana is a long ways off from be­com­ing a (leg­al) real­ity out­side of Col­or­ado and Wash­ing­ton, states are be­com­ing more pro­gress­ive with their views of med­ic­al marijuana. Even some of the most con­ser­vat­ive states in the coun­try have be­gun leg­al­iz­ing can­nabis oil to treat chil­dren with severe epi­lepsy.

John­son’s com­pany plans to sell the can­nabis oil for med­ic­al use, along with loz­enge-like drops laced with marijuana for re­cre­ation­al use. “Couple of things hit you when you try the product. One is, wow, why would any­body smoke marijuana giv­en this is an al­tern­at­ive?” John­son told the As­so­ci­ated Press. “And then secondly, it’s just very, very pleas­ant. I mean, very pleas­ant.”

Trail­blazer, in­deed.

What We're Following See More »
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
3 hours ago

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
3 hours ago

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

Government Sues Fiat Chrysler Over Emissions
5 hours ago

The government alleges the company put eight “software-based features” on diesel engines in nearly 104,000 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014 to 2016 model years, which allowed the vehicles to emit fewer pollutants during EPA lab tests than during normal driving conditions.

MacArthur Resigns As Tuesday Group Co-Chair
7 hours ago

Rep. Tom MacArthur resigned Tuesday from his position as co-chair of the Tuesday Group, the House caucus of more moderate GOP members. MacArthur was one of the key engineers in getting an Obamacare replacement plan passed through the House of Representatives, which has caused a rift within the Tuesday Group. "You can't lead people where they don't want to go," MacArthur told POLITICO New Jersey. "I think some people in the group just have a different view of what governing is."

Trump Wants to Sell Half of Strategic Oil Reserve
8 hours ago

The budget proposal would raise $500 million in fiscal year 2018 and as much as $16.6 billion in oil sales over the next decade. However, selling half of the reserve would risk taking it below the legally required minimum of 450 million barrels.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.