Possible 2012 Contender Argues for Marijuana Policy Reform on ‘Colbert’

For all of us who have always hoped to see a mainstream politician have the courage to unabashedly call for an end to marijuana prohibition, our days of waiting seem to be over.

Last night on The Colbert Report, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson – who is widely considered to be a likely candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination — dedicated the entirety of his appearance to explaining why prohibition is a waste and new policies are needed.

“I think that marijuana should be legalized,” Johnson began. “I think 90 percent of the drug problem today is prohibition related.” And it just got better from there.

Watch the clip below, and you won’t be disappointed:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Gary Johnson
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

In January, Johnson was a featured speaker at MPP’s 15th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C.

43 thoughts on “Possible 2012 Contender Argues for Marijuana Policy Reform on ‘Colbert’”

  1. It’s called comedy Ben. He’s not obnoxious but plays an obnoxious character on TV!

  2. Somewhat ironically, the two nationally prominent politicians who publicly support the legalization of cannabis and an end to the War on Drugs are both Republicans. Intellectually consistent advocates for individual freedom — supposedly the bedrock of “conservatism” — realize that dictating what a man can do with his mind and body is as hopeless and immoral as dictating what that man can do with his property.

    The lion’s share of Republicans make me want to vomit, but I think a case can be made that if true freedom to enjoy cannabis is ever achieved, it will come from that side of the aisle. It certainly doesn’t appear to even be on the radar for national Democrats, who are too weak-kneed to even talk about the subject.

    And I didn’t mind Colbert — he was obviously mocking things like the gateway argument. There were a couple points where he interrupted or try to talk over Johnson, but I didn’t see anything that clearly undermined Johnson’s appearance or message.

  3. Where can we find more Republicans like this guy?

    I understand Colbert’s “joke” is to pretend to be O’Reilly but the interrupting was getting obnoxious…

  4. I voted for GJ when I lived in NM. 1st time I ever voted and all my guys won. I would vote for him for president and I am an independant who voted for Obama. I like Obama, great on everything but pot reform, and i told him I’d vote him out on that 1 issue alone. So should you.

  5. @Ryan: Lay off the all-caps ranting. Have you ever heard of sarcasm? Colbert is not a drug warrior, he was clearly bringing up those points in a mocking fashion.

    Now I agree with fallibilist that perhaps this wasn’t his best-executed interview and he stepped on Johnson’s toes when he shouldn’t have a couple times, but that had nothing to do with some ideological commitment to cast cannabis legalization in a bad light. He didn’t do that at all.

    Did you really think he was seriously bringing up the gateway argument as support for drug prohibition when he said taking a puff of grass turns you into a heroin-addicted prostitute within 24 hours? Get a life. We have actual enemies out there; worrying about Stephen Colbert is the pinnacle of stupidity.

  6. No …Prohibition is NOT funny at any time but, if you gotta put up with obnoxiousness to get the word out…do it.

  7. I was watching this last night and it blew my mind how quickly he cut to the bottom of it.. Good to see republicans who aren’t to culturally sealed off from the world, being from oklahoma in the bible belt.. Well you know. We Sell warm 6 pt. Beer only in liquor stores.

  8. People are so ignorant! How can you not know what sarcasm is? Stephen Colbert is a master at subtlety. He brings up those opposing viewpoints in order to be successfully refuted by his opposition, Gary Johnson.

    How old are these people getting mad at the Colbert Report?

    I am a Cannabis activist and loved this.

  9. Right. Prohibition in and of itself is not funny. It’s something that is seriously damaging to a lot of people in this country.

    The only funny thing here is Colbert himself. His obnoxiousness is an exact reflection of O’Reilly himself.

  10. @Steven E: Exactly right, thanks for pushing back against these intellectual cretins who respond with vitriol before even comprehending what they’ve just seen. There is not a single valid objection to the way in which the above video relates to the cause of cannabis law reform, unless you happen to be a big fan of the ONDCP or something.

  11. i enjoyed it and it gives me hope for the more immediate future, I do not live in a state with any form of legal marijuana or decriminalization, the only thing i wish is that it was a longer discussion on a real news channel that a larger portion of registered voters are watching.

  12. Time to let obama know if he don”t start supporting legalization he”s gonna lose office cuz it looks like we have a canidate for the people . Gary Johson 2012 !!!

  13. No, it’s too late for Obama… he’s taken his stand and he MUST go… no more stringing along the American public!

  14. I put a “Gary Johnson for President 2012″ sticker in my back windshield yesterday as a matter of fact. haha google him and you will find what you need to know about him. We need to make this man go Viral on the internet. Spread his name around and support him. Get him into conversations when your in public. Promote the man people, PROMOTE THE MAN. GARY JOHNSON 2012

  15. I think it was a great interview, yes Colbert was being an ass but when isnt he an ass in an interview even to people he likes. As far as i could see it was him trying (weakly) to portray a prohibitionist point of view, but i think the Governor did a great job of defending his stance and not faltering much in his conviction for the legalization.

  16. I liked the interview, but felt more could have been said. Also, anyone familiar with Stephen Colbert and his past projects understands his stance on prohibition. I’m actually quite surprised about the responses here. So often I read discussion/forum comments telling someone to do their research before posting incorrect information. And in this case, it holds the same meaning. Do your research. If you really want to get upset at someone, watch the “real” news. The ignorance of many newscasters is unabashedly rediculous on topics of marijuana. I would like to know why The Daily Show has been somewhat avoiding this subject?

    And Ryan, ……calm down. I get pissed too. But no one is going to hear someone ranting and raving, no matter how horrible or dire a situation. The purposefully moronic statements made by Stephen Colbert’s “character” is meant to be over-ridden with sarcasm. By doing so, you break a person’s defenses and get them to follow the inanity of the, obviously, ludicrous statements.

  17. @Ryan
    The “Report” is character based. Colbert plays the devil’s advocate. Its a Character, not his real persona. He always plays the extreme conservative to show the value of the guests he hosts.
    Maybe I need to put it in Caps for you to understand:


  18. How deep is this guy in the republican party? Is he considered an embarasment to the orginazation, or is he a serious contender? If anyone wants to play the smart cards, go to your local commisioner of elections and regester (if you have not already). Be sure to regester as a republican, that way you can vote in that primary and have a say in what direction the party is going.

  19. Ok fellas, give Ryan a break. He’s entitled to his opinion and he’s obviously not a regular viewer of the Colbert show.
    I thought Colbert played out a great example of how prohibitionists blantly lie to the public and use arguments that are not supported by any kind of facts.
    I thought it was awesome when Gary Johnson said “I believe the government has to teach the truth to people and kids about drugs”, the whole audience exploded. I’m with Gary Johnson.
    So many here posted that we need a people’s candidate, I think this guy just answered our prayers. Gary Johnson for President 2012.

    Free The Weed. Free The People.

  20. Awesome… I can’t believe I am considering voting for a Republican in 2012 ….oh wait, I was already considering Ron Paul!

  21. If you didn’t think this interview funny, you might like to look into acquiring a sense of humor.

  22. I think it would be great that the former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson should get elected . We need more pro-marijuana people in office then lets see what will happen… I know i will be voting for him if he runs for office…

  23. does the word SATIRE mean anything to you people who are talking trash about Colbert!?!? i mean holy fucking sh%! have you never seen his show??? o.0

  24. The government has lied to the people alot more than people realize. They do know that it has medicinal qualities so they halted research in 74. All document were destroyed. The government was doing a study to show all the harmful effects. Instead, it did the opposite. It showed that it broke down brain tumors and breast cancer. So we know they cover up UFO’s but why would they cover up legalizing pot? I don’t get it because my son died from alcohol poisoning because courts told him he had to test clean for marijuana so he could see his kids. So he quit smoking pot and started binge drinking. I cannot forgive the court system for this. I cannot forgive that a judge got my son addicted to alcohol so he would stop smoking pot. I don’t understand this BS. Do you?

  25. @Ms.T.Johnson – deep condolences for your son. It’s very unfortunate that he became a victim of our current drug policy. If you haven’t read the book “Marijuana is safer. Why are we driving people to drink?” it shows exactly what you talking about, how people are driven towards drinking and many end up causing a lot mor harm to themselves and people around them than if they would have been smoking cannabis.
    We must get these policies changed and get rid of politicians who’s got the audacity to still support prohibition and lie to the public about cannabis.

    Free The Weed. Free The People. Gary Johnson for President 2012

  26. Although refreshing to hear does anyone out there really believe that the GOP is going to nominate a progressive as a candidate. There is NO WAY they will back anyone who is pro-legalization.

  27. i have to giggle at all the folks here who really don’t understand steve colbert…he’s fkn brilliant. i’m sure he smokes weed himself. it’s comedy people…ya just have to know his style. take it easy!

  28. I believe some of the post’s above exhibit features of autism as they actually seem unable to recognize Colbert’s schtick?
    I use medical marijuana and if you do, as well, please have the courage to say so!
    Now is the time!…right now!
    If you live in Illinois ,please call your State Representative and ask her/him to vote Yes on Illinois bill 1381 (Medical Marijuana)
    It only takes a minute and it depends on us to turn the tide toward sanity and compassion for suffering.
    We will get what we deserve based on what we do collectively…
    Eric K. Johnson

  29. Johnson, pot reform isn’t just a “progressive” issue; it’s also consistent with the small-government principles of the “tea party” faction as well. In this political climate I can’t see the GOP nominating a “progressive” as a candidate either, but they might just nominate one that supports legalization from the limited government perspective. We’ll see.

    Some of you guys need to smoke a bowl and chill. Colbert wasn’t making fun of prohibition; he was making fun of the idiocy of the prohibitionists. I mean really, if you take a step back from the trenches of the debate you’ll see how comical their positions really are. How can people sincerely believe this stuff and still be able to function in society? Besides, when logic fails, sometimes making fun of them drives the point home. Obama and company were able to get healthcare reform passed by marginalizing the opposition, so it can work for marijuana policy reform too!

  30. The day the ‘general public’ realizes accepting statistical analysis as a form of educated discrepancy is the same as skimming through a paper and not reading the whole thing will be the greatest day of my life. I’m tired of hearing numerical statistics as a form of education about a subject, like with aids, 1 out of 4 people have some form of STD. However, that doesn’t mean every fourth person you see has an STD. Using any form of numerical statistic as a reference is somewhat naive, but the media gets away with it at every turn. The MPP’s number one priority should be protecting the average American citizen. I am not a criminal, I work, pay taxes, and fuckin barbecue like every other Texan. I feel a moral obligation to stand up and tell every person that it is absolute tyranny that marijuana is illegal, and that state’s rights are rapidly diminishing. 26% of the country has medicinally accepted marijuana as a medicinal substance, yet the Federal Government has failed to recognize that. Besides the fact that I could go to jail over marijuana, I’m more worried about America becoming New Russia.

  31. @Ms.T.Johnson – deep condolences for your son. It’s very unfortunate that he became a victim of our current drug policy. If you haven’t read the book “Marijuana is safer. Why are we driving people to drink?” it shows exactly what you talking about, how people are driven towards drinking and many end up causing a lot mor harm to themselves and people around them than if they would have been smoking cannabis.
    We must get these policies changed and get rid of politicians who’s got the audacity to still support prohibition and lie to the public about cannabis.

    Free The Weed. Free The People. Gary Johnson for President 2012

  32. I’m from Canada – and i’d even be willing to contribute to this guy’s campain run in 2012… Go Gary Go!!!

  33. I usually vote for choice Democrats. But if this guy wants to run on the legalize marijuana and stop the lies about it ticket. He has my vote.

  34. Dude Ramessun smoke one and chill colbert is on the legalization side are you really to dumb to appriciate political satire. I find it hard to believe your family or friends have been killed in the marijuana drug war. I am all for the movement , but you catch more flys with honey no one likes an angry pothead but everyone loves a happy stoner

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