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GOVERNOR'S DRUG VIEWS GO ON TOUR

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The420Guy

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Gov. Gary Johnson leaves today on a two-week trip, in part to tout
his views on drug reform at Harvard Medical School, Florida State
University and to appear on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Johnson's planned travels to beat the drum on drug law reform drew
immediate criticism Tuesday from House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe,
and a Republican lawmaker.

Lujan said Johnson should take an "unpaid leave of absence" as the
state's chief executive while on his national drug reform crusade.

"I don't think the majority of people in New Mexico support this,"
Lujan said. "I know the majority of lawmakers don't."

Rep. Ron Godbey, R-Albuquerque, a vocal critic of Johnson's national
drug reform push, called his upcoming trip "absolutely inappropriate."

"It's unfortunate that our governor chooses to leave the state of New
Mexico and tout the legalization of drugs when clearly there are so
many issues that need to be worked on in our state, including
education reform," Godbey said.

"The governor should not be spending taxpayers' money so that he can
address an agenda that is personal to him."

The bulk of the Johnsons' trip is being paid by the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Florida State and
Harvard, which invited him to speak, said Diane Kinderwater,
Johnson's press secretary.

"The state (New Mexico) will be paying for his security (detail)
because as governor he needs security," said Kinderwater, who did not
provide a breakdown of taxpayer' costs on Tuesday.

Johnson is scheduled April 19 to headline an annual conference in
Washington, D.C., sponsored by NORML. "Governor Johnson is the
highest-ranking elected official to address a NORML conference -- and
he's a Republican to boot," said Nick Thimmesch, NORML spokesman.

While in Washington, D.C., Johnson is scheduled to appear on NBC's
"Meet the Press" on April 22 and to receive a national leadership
award from AIDS Action, a national advocacy group, on April 23.
Johnson returns to New Mexico on April 24.

Johnson and his wife, Dee, hope to schedule a meeting with President
Bush while in the nation's capital. "We haven't seen George since he
got elected so we're trying to get in to see him," Dee Johnson said
in a recent interview.

Dee Johnson noted the Johnsons were unable to attend Bush's
inauguration as president in January because the governor had injured
his back when he fell on ice while running.

Johnson's other out-of-state speaking engagements include:

* A talk Thursday at Florida State University in Tallahassee on
"Freedom and Drug Policy in America." Johnson's appearance is
sponsored by Florida State's School of Criminology and other
departments and paid for by the John Templeton Foundation Freedom
Project, school officials said Tuesday.

* On Tuesday, speaking on drug reform at Harvard Medical School in
Cambridge, Mass., to be paid for by Harvard.


Newshawk: Cannabis News - marijuana, hemp, and cannabis news
Pubdate: Wed, 11 Apr 2001
Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Copyright: 2001 Albuquerque Journal
Contact: opinion@abqjournal.com
Website: The Albuquerque Journal
Details: Overload Warning
Author: Loie Fecteau
Bookmark: Governor Gary Johnson Overload Warning
 
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