I believe that marijuana should be legal, taxed and sold like alcohol and tobacco. I realize that this is counter to what many libertarians and liberals believe but being the pragmatist that I am, and having first hand experience, there needs to be some controls because otherwise the black market issues that we deal with today will not be resolved and there will be no penalties for irresponsible usage.
Former NM Governor Gary Johnson believes as I do and is bringing the issue front and center as he tours the country.
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and Honorary Chairman of the OUR America Initiative, today announced his continued support for marijuana legalization. Governor Johnson points out that we are not winning the war on drugs. Billions of dollars are being wasted and the result is higher crime rates. Marijuana legalization is an effective means to reduce the exorbitant costs currently spent fighting the War on Drugs; as well as providing the ability to generate a new revenue stream for state budgets through taxation of marijuana.
“It is time we cut the crime rate in this country,” said Johnson. “The current prohibition laws are forcing drug disputes to be played out with guns in our streets. We need to put a stop to this criminal drug element in our country.” Johnson went on to say that current drug laws produce detrimental consequences in Mexico and other Central and South American countries. “If it were not for the prohibition laws in this country, the drug cartels would not be in business.”
Studies show that prohibition of marijuana costs American taxpayers approximately $42 billion per year in law enforcement costs, as well as lost tax revenues. In addition, Mexican drug cartels continue to reap huge profits from the prohibition of marijuana – with up to 70% of their total profits based on marijuana sales in the United States.
Governor Johnson is a longtime, credible advocate of legalization; officially stating his position on the issue during his second term in office as Governor of New Mexico. As such, he is the highest-ranking elected official to ever offer public support on the issue. “This country would be a better place to live if all the resources we currently put towards criminalizing marijuana were instead spent by law enforcement on protection from real crime, as opposed to victimless crime,” stated Johnson. “My opinion in regards to marijuana is that we should tax it, regulate it, and control it. I want to make it clear that I don’t advocate recreational drug use of any kind. Obviously, it will never be legal to smoke pot, become impaired, and get behind the wheel of car or do harm to others. It will never become legal for kids to smoke pot.”
As honorary chairman of the OUR America Initiative, Governor Johnson has traveled to fourteen states in the last three months talking about the important issues of the day. In addition to discussing his support of legalization, he has encouraged public dialogue on lowering taxes, reductions in deficit spending, and a return to common sense governing. “One of the things I’m most excited about is seeing the issue of marijuana legalization moving towards the forefront of our political dialogue. The public is become more aware of the wasteful expenditures and drain on our law enforcement resources that marijuana prohibition has caused,” Johnson stated.