GOV. GARY JOHNSON:
IF REDUCING MARIJUANA PENALTIES IN NY MAKES SENSE, LEGALIZATION MAKES EVEN MORE SENSE
New York, NY - Calling NY Gov. Cuomo's proposed reduction of penalties for simple possession of marijuana "a welcome bit of sanity," Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson today applauded the proposal, but repeated his call for legalization of marijuana as a better solution to the burdens marijuana prosecutions place on the courts and law enforcement.
Johnson is in New York for a series of media appearances, including The Daily Show Tuesday night. As governor of New Mexico, Johnson gained national attention in 1999 as one of the highest ranking elected officials in the nation to call for the legalization of marijuana.
In a statement released in New York, Johnson said, "It is encouraging that the governor of one of our largest states is facing the reality that we are clogging our courts and packing our jails with Americans whose 'crime' is the individual choice to possess and use small quantities of marijuana. I would strongly suggest, however, that 'decriminalization' doesn't really solve the problem. As long as we hang onto the the failed notion of prohibition, the cartels and criminal infrastructure that thrive on supplying U.S. demand for pot will continue to prosper.
"Legalizing and regulating marijuana, as we do with alcohol, will not only take a great deal of profit away from the cartels, but put us on a path toward treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. Prohibition didn't work the first time, and it clearly isn't working today."