When the Republican Party’s Presidential field takes the stage tonight in Florida for a debate to be broadcast live on the Fox News Channel, two of the GOP candidates will be on record as being for the legalization of marijuana. With the addition of former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson to the debate roster to stand alongside Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the chances of the drug war entering the discussion at some point are good.

The historic nature of this cannot be discounted. The drug war has never been a major issue in a Presidential Campaign – it’s never even been a minor issue. Yet it affects millions of people in this country and costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Throw in President Obama’s dismal approval rating among the cannabis community and you have the unheard of notion of marijuana users focusing on a GOP Presidential Debate to hear someone speak favorably of legalization.

The mainstream media continues to discount Dr. Paul despite his obvious support among GOP voters. And Fox News seems to be the only channel that will let Gary Johnson anywhere near a debate stage. Opponents of both candidates have – and will continue – to portray them as “fringe” and will likely highlight their position on the drug war as an example of their fringeness.

But being against The War on Drugs isn’t a “fringe” position by any means. Even the government’s own yearly statistics point out the glaring failure of our country’s drug policy. Conservatives as far back as the legendary William F. Buckley Jr. have seen the futility of  the drug war.

Now Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have taken up the mantle of individual freedom; unfortunately the rest of the GOP field only supports freedom when it squares with their political beliefs. That’s not freedom, it’s just political expediency.

Joe Klare

About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

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11 Responses

  1. Wade S

    A bit off-topic (yet related), but I’m trying to get the word out.

    There’s a petition (among other prohibition-related petitions) at We the People (White House site) to shed light on government obfuscation of unsound drug policy:


    Please be patient, the site takes a while to open (government efficiency).

    Thanks for checking it out.

  2. anonymous

    sure, there are more weed smokers than all those other minority groups… but the pot smokers are too stoned to make it to the polling booths.

  3. James Baker

    I don’t know about Gary Johnson, but Ron Paul has stated that he will pardon any non-violent drug offender currently in prison. He believes strongly that prohibition causes the problems associated with these drugs and as somebody who has never took illegal drugs I agree with him. If you legalize drugs all the border violence will disappear because we won’t be worrying about drug imports. Illegal drug prices would fall and gangs would have to go legitimate to stay in business.

    Prohibition is the problem not the cure.

  4. Dr Patrick McGahen MD PhD MPH

    I’m an old retired inner city E/R physician, and smoked the herbal when I was a teen up thru college, but when I realized it was having a deleterious effect on my thinking and memory, I stopped. That was the WORST thing to happen in over ten years of near constant smoking of weed. Never, not ONCE, did I consider using a harder drug, though I did experiment with LSD BEFORE I smoked my first joint! So that old shibboleth that it’s a gateway drug is pure BUNKUM!

    I went on to get my MD first, in Greneda, my senior year was when Reagan decied that the four or five Cuban refugees were “dangerous terrorist” (they were in their 70’s by then!) and invaded the island country, so I was forced to finish my training at USC in Compton/East LA. Nice Campus, but walk one block, and you were in some of the worst, and most gang ridden neighborhoods in the nation. I didn’t mind that so much, as much as I mined my clinical and surgical training being 90% gunshot wound repairs, mostly futile. That was before they made the “Cop Killer Bullets” illegal, the Teflon coated tip ones, that would pierce ANYTHING! Car doors, Bullet resistant vests, concrete walls, anything. I did literally thousands of those procedures, WAY too many to count, but I guess at 2000 plus or minus 100. I did that very same job, first as an intern, then as a resident, chief resident, then as attending. Finally wound up running the E/R (or E/D we called it) as the Chief Of Emergency Medicine. I did that job for 23 years, because it was NEVER boring.

    But it got to me after a time. I had to leave and find a simpler life. I bought a house in CT, 3000-miles away, and worked as a teacher with autistic kids. Dr Ron Paul HAD an ophthalmology practice, not that I’m slagging off that profession at all, they’re for the most part very valuable people, and one that I’ve worked closely with professionally and personally. But, Dr Paul make out like his practice was responsible for saving many lives, when that’s JUST NOT TRUE. When asked about his son’s diploma mill education, he gets evasive and even abusive to the questioner. Whether a reporter with the MSM or a basement blogger, we all tend to use Factcheck.org to find out the veracity of the rumours that come our way. And if we get more than one “YES, It’s True”, then we’re free to run with it, without fear of civil suits, since it’s been backed by a non partisan group like Factcheck.org. I guess that the Thugs and the teabaggers have never heard of the organization, since what they do is FREE of CHARGE, and been in place since Vice President Gore “Invented” the Internet in 1999. Thanks a lot Al. But why have I been taking lessons in machine language since the late 70’s?? We were on DARPANET and Compuserve way back then, so my take away message is that bad or good politicians ALWAYS lie. It’s part of their nature, their wiring so to speak.

    The only one actually qualified to run, are Ralph Nader, who’s far too old and frankly scares off the majority of voters, and one Democrat who was trounced so badly in the 2007 primary against President Obama, that he seems to have lost heart. Being a homely short dude married to a supermodel status wife didn’t help matters, it just made the contrast that much more striking. We all know of whom I speak. If not, read my blog, I’m doing a piece on him later in the week, following up on the failed progressive movement. http:/patsmag50.typepad.com/blog
    Thanks and have as good a day as nature will allow!!

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