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Gary Johnson

The Libertarian Party, born in Colorado 50 years ago, still seeks elusive mainstream acceptance

The United States’ third-largest political party — what its main founder considered “the last, best hope for freedom in America” — took root a half-century ago in a living room in Westminster. The TV flickered on, David Nolan would later recall, as the then-28-year-old advertising executive and his wife gathered in their duplex with three friends […]

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Donald Trump: Legalize Drugs?

Will Donald, Hillary, or Bernie legalize it before 2020? What about one of “the other” candidates? It is clear that the GOP has one option: Donald Trump. While many are wondering whether this man will make America great again, there is one looming issue for our community. What will happen to marijuana legislation and policy? […]

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Gary Johnson in Charlotte During DNC

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As the Democratic National Convention occupied most of the headlines this week, another candidate for President was also in Charlotte.   Gary Johnson attended several events in the Charlotte area which included a NORML demonstration and a Tea Party event about a half hour away from the DNC.  The marijuana reform advocate seemed to enjoy his status as a third party candidate and possible spoiler for either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.  Johnson said “I really do wish I was known as a spoiler on both sides, that the notion that people really do care about the fact that we are in endless wars, the fact that we do care about civil liberties, that we have a growing police state.” While third party candidates have little chance of winning the presidency they can bring attention to their cause.  Many feel that Ralph Nader and Pat Buccanan had a significant impact on the 2000 election.  Both candidates should probably be fearful but Mitt Romney his campaign in particular seem worried about Johnson upsetting their chances for the White House.  Attorneys for the Romney campaign have been filing legal challenges in many states including important swing states such as Virginia, which could be the key to the election.  Mr. Johnson is a former Republican and may still have support from voters in the party who are not energized by Mitt Romney.

For more on Gary Johnson and his upcoming appearances click here

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Where the Candidates Stand

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The race for the American presidency has entered the period that can best be described as the calm before the storm.   The candidates may be sniping at each other through the media, but otherwise we are in a lull waiting for the Republican candidate Mitt Romney to announce his running mate and the upcoming national conventions.  However, before the race kicks into high gear we thought we would provide updates on the candidates and their plans marijuana reform.

Barack Obama:

The current president of the United States has upset many of his previous supporters by taking an unexpected harsh approach toward medical marijuana.  Many federal raids have been conducted with letters and threats for more to come being sent out.  The president has stayed mostly quiet about the war and drugs and it seems to be an inconvenient thorn in his side.  Many are wondering if a second Barack Obama term would see a different approach.  Many South and Central American nations have and are considering legalization/decriminalization measures as a way to try and reduce escalating violence by the cartels.  Recently the president has said they are not going to legalize anytime soon but that he would be open to a discussion on the issue.  Nancy Pelosi had recently signaled that there may be more movement on the issue after the election.

Mitt Romney:

Governor Romney  has never supported medical marijuana (unless he has changed this view somewhere along the line) and does not appear inclined to start anytime soon.  He famously walked away from a suffering man in a wheelchair who questioned the governor about medical cannabis.  In a campaign stop on Colorado several months ago Mr. Romney was questioned about medical marijuana and he responded by asking if anyone wanted to discuss any “real” issues.  Patients in Colorado were not pleased that Mr. Romney would not engage the issue and for those who are sick, the issue is all too real for them everyday.  The campaign has been rough for the former governor lately, as his recent trip oversees was marred with controversy over his comments regarding Israel and Palestine, and his statement that London was not ready to hold the Olympics.

Gary Johnson:

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson now serves as the flag bearer for marijuana reform on the presidential stage.  While his chances of winning the White House may be slim, he is bringing a great deal of attention to the issue.  The popular libertarian has polled as high as 8% nationally, which is a very high number for a third party candidate.  His running mate is also a very well known advocate of marijuana reform and a former justice of the peace.  Gary Johnson is trying to be included in the presidential debates, which would likely bring the issue to the forefront and prevent Barack Obama and Mitt Romney from sidestepping the issue.

Roseanne Barr:

The comedian and former television star has thrown her hat into the race. Similar to Governor Johnson, she has made marijuana reform one of her primary core issues.  Recently she appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman and said they would have to pry a joint “out of her cold dead fingers”, an obvious parody to the late Charlton Heston and similar remarks he made regarding gun rights.  Many have questioned if Roseanne is serious about a White House run, but so far she appears to be staying in the race.

The 2012 election appears to be heading down a historic path.  It is unclear if marijuana reform will receive the attention it deserves but the time for dodging the questions seem to be running out.  The war on drugs has long failed, and taxpayers have grown tired of watching their hard earned dollars be wasted during a time where we could put the money to better use.  Check back with us as the race for the White House starts to heat up.

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Meghan McCain Says Yes to Marijuana Legalization

meghan mccain

As the two mainstream candidates for president continue to dodge and squirm away from marijuana related questions, others in the political arena are gladly standing up to address the issue. has previously covered outspoken supporters such as Gary Johnson, Barney Frank, and Ron Paul, but a new voice has entered the discussion.

The daughter of longtime senator and former presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ) has been taking her father’s moderate and often bi-partisan platform to a new level.  Meghan McCain is known for being a centrist and represents a younger generation of voters who are not locked into conservative bullet points.  Some of her actions have upset American conservatives, especially recently as she appeared in a photo shoot (fully clothed) in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine.  She now has come out in support of legalizing marijuana, making conservatives already weary of both her and John McCain’s middle of the road approach to government, even more aggravated.

Joining the skyrocketing number of Americans who are tired of watching tax dollars being thrown into an abyss, Meghan McCain strongly supported legalization in her new book “America You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom” which was also co-written by comedian Michael Ian Black.  In one segment she states I believe the legal ramifications of possessing marijuana are egregious. For one reason, I think it is a substance that does no more damage than alcohol does, and second, if we legalized marijuana in this country and taxed the hell out of it, our economic problems would at least be temporarily helped a great deal. In fact, you could even use the revenue stream to pay for universal health care if you wanted.”  She also went on to say “Mostly though, I do not completely understand the allure and taboo associated with marijuana. The few times I have partaken in smoking pot it has been a mild experience. Yes, it is a substance that will alter your mind frame and judgment, but as someone who is high strung and has a natural tendency to get nauseated, I can see its appeal.”

While this nation may be polarized, campaign strategists often seem to overplay the hand.  Meghan McCain’s view on marijuana is quickly becoming the consensus of the mainstream.  Gary Johnson and Ron Paul’s popularity already show a country ready for a more compromising voice, instead of the gridlocked and dysfunction we typically see in Washington.  As unemployment continues to be a concern in the United States, we see politicians desperate to do anything to avoid unemployment lines filled with regular working class people.  However, walking the lobbyist line may no longer offer the job security it once did, but opening up an entirely new multi-billion dollar per year job market may help everyone get off the unemployment line.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News June 8, 2012

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Dean Skelos and NY Republicans Oppose Governor’s Decriminalization Plan

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo made national headlines earlier this week when he announced that he was seeking to amend New York’s marijuana laws.  Though marijuana was decriminalized in the 1970s, possession of less than 25g is still a misdemeanor crime if it is in plain sight.  Police officers  often exploit a loophole by demanding that that people empty their pockets, then say the marijuana is in plain site, eliminating the possibility of the lighter civil citation ticket that would be issued.  Many New Yorkers have been outraged at the tactics that seem to target the Black and Hispanic communities.  Cuomo has expressed a desire to change the eliminate the plain sight provision and now only smoking marijuana in public would be considered a misdemeanor offense.  State Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos was joined by other New York Republicans in opposition to Cuomo’s proposal.  The Senator issued a well thought out statement and said “Being able to just walk around with 10 joints in each ear, and it only be a violation, I think that’s wrong.”  John Vlasto, Governor Cuomo’s spokesperson responded by saying “Carrying 10 joints in each ear would require some set of ears.”  Mr. Skelos did say that those keeping small amounts of marijuana should not be penalized just because they were following a policeman’s orders.


For more on this story click here


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Prescription Drug Abuse has become an Epidemic…

Though opiates are legal through pharmaceuticals pills, they pose a major addiction problem.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated that opiate addiction has become an epidemic in the United States.  Additionally, many feel that painkiller addiction is so high that a recent crackdown in opiate pills has pushed addicts to seek out illegal heroin because it contains the similar opiates found in products such as Vicodin and Oxycontin.  While this may be news to some, marijuana advocates and patients have long been aware of the dangers that many legal medications possess.


For more on this story click here


New Hampshire Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill…

New Hampshire lawmakers are attempting to make their state become the 18th state to permit medical marijuana.  This week they passed a bill that would make that happen, but many feel Governor John Lynch will not sign the bill due to fears of how it will be distributed.  In 2009 a similar scenario occurred where lawmakers passed a bill only to be vetoed by the Governor.  An override of the veto fell two votes short and state legislators fear that could happen again.  Evalyn Merrick, a state representative who attributes marijuana with helping her personal fight with cancer said “Over the years, we have convinced many legislators to support this critical reform, With support either from Gov. Lynch or from two additional senators, this bill can finally pass and patients will finally have legal access to medical marijuana.”

For more on this story click on this link


Marijuana Advocate and Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Appears on the Daily Show…

Getting your fair share of the political spotlight is not always easy if you are a third party candidate.  However, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has been doing well in getting his libertarian message out there.  Johnson is known for supporting progressive social issues such as same sex marriage and marijuana legalization.  This week he appeared on “The Daily Show” to talk about his approach to fixing America.  He has also been featured several times on “The Colbert Report”.  As always he was not shy about calling for an end to the failed war on drugs and continues to be an advocate of small government.

Click on the video below to see the interview

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Gary Johnson
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

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Marijuana Friendly Gary Johnson Nominated as Libertarian Candidate for President while D.C. Program off to Rough Start

gary johnson party nominee

It has been an eventful week for marijuana law as Connecticut is poised to enact a strict medical marijuana program, aimed at avoiding the legislative pitfalls seen in other states, especially California.  Over the weekend there was also the Global Marijuana March, which saw hundreds of thousands gather across the world with events held in over 160 cities in 29 different nations.

As always, there were many other stories that developed over the weekend.  Although presumed to be the nominee for months, two term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has officially been named the Libertarian Party’s choice for President in the upcoming 2012 election this November.  The long time supporter of marijuana reform/legalization won by capturing 70% of the party’s 632 delegates at the Libertarian Party’s convention held in Las Vegas.  Mr. Johnson told Reuters that “I am very humbled. This is just the start.”  In addition to his promise to reform marijuana laws, Gary Johnson has taken aim at big government spending and income tax laws.  Gary Johnson shares Ron Paul’s view on ending income tax and replacing it with a “Fair Tax”.  The proposal would see an end to the current income tax structure and replace it with flat rate 23% tax on new goods.  Resold goods would not face any sales tax.  Mr. Johnson is also hopeful that Ron Paul and his supporters will back the ex-Governor.

As Gary Johnson prepares for a possible journey to the White House, he may face the issue of marijuana reform before he even unpacks his bags.  Washington D.C. has finally started to move forward with a medical marijuana program that has been weighed down by legal disputes.  The program was originally voted on and approved by D.C. residents 12 years ago.  Six licenses have finally been granted to cultivation centers with hopes of patients being served within a few months.  Despite the approvals finally being issued, some applicants seeking to open dispensaries are filing lawsuits.  They feel they have easily met the criteria laid out by the Health Department in order to open and have been denied anyway.

According to the Washington Times, 3 law firms have filed a total of 5 civil complaints that contest the way in which the D.C. Department of Health scored and denied the applicants.  Dr. Duplessie is one of the plaintiffs and is seeking his application to be re-sent to Department of Health with a third party to oversee the second review.  The Washington Times article quoted Dr. Duplessie as saying “It appears that the D.C. Board of Health has either not read my application or the playing field is not level, I think the process is beyond flawed.”  Dr. Duplessie’s attorney has questioned what they believe is a lack of transparency, and said city health officials should elaborate on their decision further than simply saying “it’s just our right.”

While the D.C. story is not what patients want to hear, it is important to note how much progress has been made.  With a presidential candidate and the city of Washington D.C. supporting cannabis reform, the future for patients appears bright.  Despite whatever recycled statements are emitted from the well dressed men in landmark buildings, compassion seems to be winning out.

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Gary Johnson Demonstrates Conviction by selecting Judge Jim Gray for VP

gary johnson jim gray


Although the current political system has disenfranchised many eligible voters because of two party domination, the 2012 presidential election may get a necessary injection of 3rd party conversation.  Polls show that 80% of Americans would consider voting for a 3rd party candidate.  Coincidentally (or perhaps not so coincidentally) that is a similar number to the amount of people who support a physician’s right to prescribe medical marijuana.

Former two term Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson appears poised to win the Libertarian Party’s nomination for the 2012 presidential election.  Ahead of the more well known and establishment financed Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson was able to come to a quick decision about his running mate.  The popular marijuana culture website tokeofthetown, is reporting that Mr. Johnson has selected retired California Judge Jim Gray to be his vice president.  Justice Gray is known for his progressive views on marijuana.  This move appears to be paving a way for marijuana to be prominently on display for the Johnson campaign.  Governor Johnson told he selected Justice Gray because “The thought process all along has been to find somebody that can articulate libertarian ideals and beliefs and I’ve thought all along that he would be a really solid pick.”

Conversely, the representatives of the two party system Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama, certainly do not seem to have as much conviction in some of their decisions.  Mitt Romney has changed his position (sometimes more than once) on virtually every important social issue (click here for compilation of Mitt Romney articulating then contradicting his views).  The former Governor of Massachusetts has prospective VP candidates running from his offer.  Unfortunately for the American public, it seems the only issue Mitt Romney has not waivered on is medical marijuana.  He actually has famously walked away from a wheelchair bound man who asked him about changing marijuana laws during his failed 2008 presidential bid.  The other major party representative, President Obama, is just starting to acknowledge medical marijuana questions directed his way. Critics feel it may be possible that the president reverts back to his 2008 tone if re-elected, but of course what guarantees are there in American politics?

The move by Gary Johnson does not appear to simply be a gimmick.  With a vast majority of Americans supporting medical marijuana and now at least half supporting overall legalization, marijuana is no longer a fringe issue appealing to a small passionate base.  Gary Johnson has selected a running mate who is a legal expert and a supporter of repairing one of the greatest injustices of this generation.  While politicians may often feel that an election should be scripted with the same talking points, it is important to understand that elected officials work for us.  Without a doubt some critics will try to dismiss Gary Johnson and Jim Gray as trying to capitalize on marijuana supporters.  While we have all heard this before, marijuana can provide relief to the economy, patients, and an overburdened penitentiary system.  We at have to ask why anyone would have a problem with making a rare American consensus issue the center of a political platform?

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Barney Frank Confronts President Obama on Medical Marijuana Flip Flop

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This time of year is very uplifting for medical marijuana patients and activists.  It is a time where the community comes together and patients can share their stories with others.  Of course there is a lot of fun at 420 events but hopefully not lost during the weekend was Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-Mass ) comments on the Obama Administration’s handling of medical marijuana.

Known for their expert coverage of American politics, Politico ran a story describing Barney Frank’s recent quotes regarding the white house and medical marijuana.  Over the weekend Politico caught up with Mr. Frank and the representative said “I’m very disappointed…They look more like the Bush administration than the Clinton administration.”  Barney Frank has been a long time advocate of marijuana reform and has co-sponsored bills with Ron Paul to amend cannabis prohibition.

Additionally, Opposing Views reported that both President Obama and Rep. Frank attended a lavish fundraiser across from Norml’s offices at the St. Regis Hotel.  The fundraiser cost about $35,800 to attend with mostly rich liberals (Obama’s supposed base) filling the room.   Reports indicate that Barney Frank challenged the president on his handling of the recent medical marijuana raids.  The president then claimed that they were only going after dispensaries on a case by case basis and was unaware of what the DOJ was doing.  Rep. Frank did not agree with this assertion and furthered challenged Obama on his supposed “hands off” policy.  The president frustratingly said that the 2009 policy was still in place, to the best of his knowledge.   The statement is strange because it seems to either indicate the president is not being truthful about his marijuana policy, or that he has no control over the federal authorities conducting the raids.  Neither scenario will likely be acceptable to the American public.  Representative Barney Frank has vowed to send President Obama press clippings covering the raids in case he missed the stories.

Progressives may be weary.  Obama has also disenfranchised them on other issues like immigration reform, which was a staple of his 2008 election campaign.   Perhaps he thinks he needs to be “tough on crime” for the election and then after the possibility of losing office disappears he will backtrack to his 2008 sentiments.  At least this is what many are hoping.  However, the president is gradually losing support from the medical marijuana community, which includes much of the president’s progressive base.  There are surprising supporters of marijuana letting themselves be known all the time and, as Barney Frank said “Obama now lags Pat Robertson in a sensible approach to marijuana.”  A dubious distinction that likely does not sit well with progressives and maybe even Barack Obama himself.  Frustration may be building in the American public with both President and the likely GOP candidate Mitt Romney (nobody even seems to want to be his running mate), a third party option like Gary Johnson may seem more appealing with each day.

The idea of Obama shifting his policy once to get re-elected, then again to match his true feelings may be politics as usual.  Unfortunately for a man who ran his 2008 campaign on change and avoiding politics as usual must be held to a higher standard.  It is true that progressives may feel their choices are limited but Barack Obama provided so much hope for so many.  The president now seems concerned with his legacy and this is not to say he has not accomplished some great things in his presidency, but does he want his legacy to simply be “better than the last guy, better than anything the GOP offered up in 2012”?

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A Tribute to Peter McWilliams

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“Stubbornness is also determination. It’s simply a matter of shifting from “won’t power” to “will power.”
? Peter McWilliams


The brightest minds are not bound to one area of expertise.  True genius transcends departmentalized intelligence and spreads its branches out far and wide.  Unfortunately our society seems to have placed an emphasis on the narrow minded expert.  We want our athletes to play ball, our entertainers to dance, and our social commentators to discuss single topics.

Perhaps not a household name, Peter McWilliams has inspired people from all walks of life.  He was raised outside of Detroit in Allen Park, Michigan.  After attending Eastern Michigan University he found inspiration in Paul Krassner and his publication “The Realist”, which was regarded as one of the premiere counter culture publications of modern times.

Peter would quickly become an established writer himself and his diverse skill set was on display even in his early works.  Already publishing many works including insightful poetry , in 1974 he wrote, directed, and produced the religious satire movie originally called The Greatest Story Overtold” under the name Peter Alexander.  The movie has since been re-released as “The Thorn”.  In 1975 he and Denise Denniston released “The Transcendental Meditation TM Book”, which enjoyed a three week stay on top of the New York Times best sellers list.  He would go on to have 5 books in total to make it to the prestigious best seller list.   Another early highlight was How To Survive the Loss of a Love which he wrote with Harold H. Bloomfield in 1976 and expanded upon an earlier version Peter wrote in 1971. Already displaying his varied expertise in satire, human emotions and meditation, Peter McWilliams decided to share his proficiency of computers during a period of time where distrust and a lack of user knowledge in how to use computers was at an all time high.  In 1982 he released the “The Personal Computer Book” and “The Word Processing Book”.

In 1990, Peter McWilliams returned to the subject matter that may distinguish him the most, his understanding of humanity, emotion, and coping with pain.  “Life 101: Everything We Wished We Had Learned About Life in School but Didn’t” received great reviews and is still available on  True to his nature, the book has been heralded as deep, philosophical and yet easily accessible with a style that resembles conversation instead of condescension.

His next work would be a smooth transition into the political and social commentary realm.  The 1993 book titled “Ain’t Nobody’s Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country” was released and still receives positive reviews.  The book examines what Mr. McWilliams categorizes as “victimless crimes” and how people have been hurt tremendously by consensual crimes throughout history.  Another major point of the book is that over regulating social behavior produces an environment that is ripe for black markets and organized crime.  The book resonated with many, including libertarians who appreciated his views on personal freedoms.

The book makes commentary on marijuana, a victimless crime according to Peter.  Coincidentally, this point would hit closer to home than perhaps he had envisioned.  In 1996, Peter McWilliams was diagnosed with both AIDS and cancer.  Conventional treatments produced extreme nausea for him and Peter found relief with the use of marijuana.  Two years later he would give a nationally televised speech at the 1998 Libertarian National Convention.  The speech was inspirational for many defenders of civil liberties, including those scared to embrace their sexuality.  Fourteen years ago was still a difficult period to admit to being gay, but Mr. McWilliams courageously revealed this during his iconic speech.

Peter McWilliams suffered greatly for his open views on medical marijuana.  Shortly after his address to the Libertarian party, he was arrested for growing marijuana plants that he says he planned to give to caregivers in order to provide relief for patients.  He believed he was targeted specifically because of how effectively he was conveying social change and the benefits of medical marijuana.  At the time he was helping Todd McCormick write a book titled “How to Grow Medical Marijuana”.  Both men were arrested by federal authorities. A judge ruled that Peter McWilliams could not mention his terminal illness or that he believed that medical marijuana was saving his life during the trial proceedings.  He was required to cease using marijuana or his mother would lose her house, which was used as collateral for his bail bond.  His extreme nausea returned and although not officially confirmed, it is believed that Peter McWilliams died from choking on excess vomit.

This tragic ending was not befitting of such brilliance.  Peter McWilliams had a golden touch with just about anything he encountered.  That is why it is so confusing that we can applaud intelligence in one field but then disregard it in another.  This was not a lazy man trying to abuse marijuana for recreational pleasure.  He embodied the diversity of the marijuana community with such insight and compassion.  Peter McWilliams’ mind would not be confined to one area of focus and almost 12 years after his death, his influence is still strong.  We were able to speak with Julia who maintains, a site dedicated to remembering the great activist.  She mentions, as many others have, about Peter’s inviting writing style and that he had a way of directly talking to people as if he knew the reader.  When asked how to describe the influence he has had she said “The fact that 12 years after someone died, it should mean something that people are being touched by his life and still reading his books.” The site has much to offer including a description of Peter’s works including books, photography and other entries not covered in this article.  Additionally, the site includes quotes from Peter and many of his well established peers that include Paul Krassner, Gary Johnson and Dennis Peron.  There is also a video tribute by Julia and much more.

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