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
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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.

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