We’re at that point now where we are down to only a handful of hopefuls running for the position of President of the United States. With the two major nominees currently being Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it’s no wonder that the third party Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, is suddenly getting more attention than before. When it comes to marijuana policy the main presidential hopeful has been Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and even though there is still a large following who are “feelin’ the Bern” his name will not appear on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (but you can still write his name in!).
Considering the fact that Gary Johnson would indeed be on the ballot nationwide, as well as his stance on marijuana reform, the Marijuana Policy Project has given him their formal endorsement. It was likely a smart move on their part to wait – Johnson is gaining popularity and comes in with 10% in the polls – which is better than most third party candidates have ever been able to say. Of course, with the current Democratic and Republican nominees it’s no wonder that people are looking for another option.
A blog post on the Marijuana Policy Project website explains that their endorsement was made entirely on Johnson’s position on issues involving marijuana reform. Since he has a very liberal view on gun control (advocating for less restrictions) among other things, they felt it was necessary to explain themselves to voters who may question their endorsement.
“MPP is a single-issue organization, and our mission is simple: ‘Regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol in the United States.’ We don’t take a position — and we therefore don’t take into account a candidate’s position — on other issues, such as abortion, guns, gay rights, Iraq, taxes, or Social Security. We also don’t work in Canada or Portugal.
“Legalization has been Johnson’s number-one issue for 17 years. MPP’s endorsement of Johnson was an easy call; the more difficult question is whether MPP should support a candidate who’s good on medical marijuana but bad on legalization, when the candidate is facing an opponent who’s bad on everything.
“It’s fine if voters prefer to consider a candidate’s marijuana position in the context of a dozen other positions, but that’s not MPP’s mission. We’re narrowly focused on marijuana policy and are happy to work alongside anyone who shares our mission, whether they’re Socialists, Republicans, or otherwise.”
The first time that Johnson made his position on cannabis legalization known was back in 1999, while he was the sitting Governor of New Mexico. Until Bernie Sanders’ recent endorsement of legalization, Johnson was the highest ranking politician to approve of legalizing. Not considering anything beyond cannabis, it is clear why the MPP would choose to endorse him with the current runners on the national ballot.