JOHNSON MAKES DRUG-POLICY PITCH IN PLAYBOY

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Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000 17:04:16 -0800
From: "D. Paul Stanford" <stanford@crrh.org>
To: restore@crrh.org
Subject: NM: Johnson Makes Drug-Policy Pitch In Playboy
Message-ID: <5.0.0.25.2.20001204170402.04f769f0@mail.olywa.net>

Newshawk: Cannabis News - marijuana, hemp, and cannabis news
Pubdate: Mon, 04 Dec 2000
Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Copyright: 2000 Albuquerque Journal
Contact: opinion@abqjournal.com
Address: P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103
Website: The Albuquerque Journal
Author: Loie Fecteau Journal Politics Writer

JOHNSON MAKES DRUG-POLICY PITCH IN PLAYBOY

Republican Gary Johnson, New Mexico's Governor Different, Joins A Select
Fraternity This Week With The Publication Of His Playboy Interview.

Johnson apparently is only the fourth governor to be interviewed by the
magazine, Playboy spokeswoman Elizabeth Norris said.

The other three were the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace, former
California Gov. Jerry Brown, and Gov. Jesse Ventura of Minnesota. The
Johnson interview is in the magazine's January issue and hits newsstands
Monday. Predictably, the Playboy interview focuses on Johnson's
controversial national push to legalize marijuana and change other drug laws.

Most of the interview, conducted in the spring, is stuff that has been
publicized before ad nauseam, to use one of Johnson's favorite phrases. But
there are a few new juicy tidbits, including the revelation that Johnson
has seen friends "do heroin."

"They never were addicted," Johnson told Playboy. "They just experimented
with it. So, that's another myth: Everyone who tries heroin becomes an addict."

Johnson told Playboy his own drug use, which he said ended in his twenties,
was limited to trying cocaine and smoking "lots of pot." That is consistent
with what Johnson has said before.

One new detail in the Playboy interview about Johnson's youthful marijuana
use is that he says the drug helped him sleep. "This is the first time I've
ever admitted it, but I quit being an insomniac when I started smoking
pot," Johnson told Playboy. "That was one of the side effects for me."

Johnson, as he has previously, told Playboy he quit doing drugs because he
realized they were "a handicap."

Our fitness fanatic governor points out in Playboy -- as he has many
times elsewhere -- that he doesn't "do caffeine, sugar, alcohol,
tobacco or drugs."

"I wouldn't be sitting here if I did any of those things," said Johnson. "I
just couldn't do what I do; I couldn't have accomplished what I've
accomplished."

Playboy described Johnson as "the nation's most fit politician."

Rep. Ron Godbey, R-Albuquerque, a critic of Johnson's drug stance, greeted
the news of Johnson's Playboy interview with a groan.

"I hate for him to continue championing drugs like this," Godbey said in an
interview. "I also hate to see him take his message to a trashy magazine
like Playboy. As governor, he has a responsibility to uphold the dignity of
his office, and it degrades the office of governor for him to be in a
trashy magazine like this."

Godbey said he disagrees with Johnson's contention that adults need to talk
honestly with young people about drugs, which would include discussing
their pleasures and their hazards.

"I used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, and I don't go around
talking about how good a cigarette tasted after a meal," Godbey said.
"Instead, I talk about how bad cigarettes are for your lungs and everything
else."

Godbey said he wishes Johnson would "give up this drug thing and get on
with the business of running the state."

"We're on the wrong end of too many lists and we have too many serious
problems that need to be addressed, including problems within the Taxation
and Revenue Department; Children, Youth and Families; and Medicaid," Godbey
said. "He needs to focus on those."

Diane Kinderwater, Johnson's press secretary, said Johnson had some qualms
about being featured in Playboy.

"He is not a Playboy reader, and he did hesitate about being in that
magazine," Kinderwater said.

But Johnson decided to grant the interview because it was an "opportunity
to speak to millions of people in his own words about an issue he feels
strongly about," Kinderwater said. "He was convinced he would be able to
reach out to a lot of people, not just Playboy subscribers but people who
are policy makers," she said.

Kinderwater described the Playboy interview with Johnson as "accurate for
the most part."

However, Kinderwater took issue with a headline that appeared in a Playboy
news release last week. It said: "Outspoken Republican calls for
Legalization of Drugs 'Across the Board.'"

"That went out nationwide to over 1,000 publications, and the headline was
inaccurate," Kinderwater said. It's the "across the board" phrase that
prompted the complaint.

Playboy subsequently issued a second news release: "In an effort to
clarify, here is the exact quote from the January Playboy interview on
which the press release is based:

"PLAYBOY: Do you believe that all drugs should be legal?"

"JOHNSON: If we legalized all drugs across the board, we would have a
better situation than we have today. If all illicit drugs were available
over the counter, things would be better. But that's not what I am
advocating. I think that we should start with certain drugs, based on
existing models. There are models that exist in this world for the
legalization of heroin.

There is a model when it comes to marijuana. There isn't a model for
cocaine, methamphetamines, LSD and so on. I am not advocating legalization,
but I do think we should look into it."

In the eight-page Playboy interview, Johnson also speaks out on gun control
(he thinks gun laws are ineffective), campaign finance reform (he wants
disclosure of donors but opposes spending limits), open borders (he
envisions an open border with Mexico) and other topics.
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