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Former New Mexico Governor Pushes For Pot Legalization

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JOPLIN, Mo. – For former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, educating the masses is a key component in changing marijuana laws.

Johnson, who was in office from 1995 to 2002, spoke in Joplin over the weekend as part of the 2010 Cannabis Revival. He talked about why he believes marijuana prohibition is failing, what the war on drugs is costing – both in dollars and in lives – and what needs to be done about it. The event was held in Landreth Park.

Kelly Maddy, director of the Joplin chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legislation and organizer of the Cannabis Revival, said the weekend event was held as a way to encourage public involvement in marijuana law reform.

According to Johnson, his interest in the drug war and the legalization of marijuana peaked during his tenure as a governor when he wanted to work to reduce New Mexico drinking and driving but was told the state didn't have the resources to do so.

Johnson said roughly half of the money, court time and jail space nationwide goes to dealing with drug-related offenses, something he believes is not the best use of resources.

"Other people harming me, or having the potential to harm me, that's real crime," he said.

Since then, Johnson has toured the country speaking on what he believes needs to happen concerning marijuana laws.

Johnson and many of the members of national marijuana legalization groups believe marijuana needs to be made legal, then regulated and taxed just like alcohol. The former governor, who has experience dealing with the issues of a border state, spoke about what not being able to regulate the marijuana trade is costing society.

"Lives are lost by disputes being played out with guns instead of in the courts," he said, citing the deaths that take place in connection with the illegal marijuana trade.

Another issue Johnson thinks needs to be addressed is the current political standpoint on drug laws.

"Politics is based on fear, and right now marijuana is looked at as the cause of all evil," he said. Johnson said approximately 45 percent of the country favors legalizing marijuana, while no politicians publicly do.

"Nowhere is there a disconnect as much as with drugs," he said.

Johnson believes the country is at a tipping point concerning drug laws and believes the U.S. could see the legalization of marijuana in the next 2 1/2 years, as the national opinion on marijuana and the laws surrounding it shifts.



No vote in Joplin


An initiative petition calling for the decriminalization of marijuana up to 35 grams in the city of Joplin failed in 2008 to get enough signatures to place the issue on the November general election ballot.


NewsHawk: MedicalNeed:420 MAGAZINE
Source:joplinglobe.com
Author: Alexandra Nicolas
Contact: Home » The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO
Copyright: 2010 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.
Website:Former New Mexico governor pushes for pot legalization » Local News » The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO
 
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