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Johnson Defends Association with Pot Industry

The Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson defended his association with the pot industry in an interview on Sunday.

The Hill reports:

Johnson said that, if elected, one of his first actions would be to delist marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of Schedule I controlled substances, which also includes heroin and LSD.

Before running for president, he was CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc., which has made it hard for some Republicans disillusioned with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to vote for Johnson as an alternative.

He sought to reassure potential voters on Sunday in an interview with Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” by arguing that marijuana is less dangerous than prescription drugs or alcohol.

“Of all the things you can be involved with, why sell pot?” Wallace asked.

Johnson argued, “Marijuana products, which directly compete with legal prescription drugs on the medical front, don’t kill anybody.

“Not one documented death,” he said. “Marijuana does provide that relief. There needs to be research and development in this area.”

But he said it’s difficult to research the potential benefits of the drug because of the DEA’s current classification.

“As president of the United States, I would delist marijuana as a Class I narcotic. This is going to be an issue that is left up to the states, just like alcohol,” he said.

“Then on the recreational side of this, Chris, I have always believed that legalizing marijuana will lead to less overall substance abuse, because it’s so much safer than everything else out there, starting with alcohol,” he said.

The medical benefits of marijuana consumption have been hotly debated among experts. While there’s promising anecdotal evidence that it can be used to treat epilepsy, evidence that it does much to alleviate glaucoma in the long term is scant.

Johnson said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year that he had consumed marijuana as recently as May but promised he would stop getting high if elected president in November.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr.

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