Gary Johnson stands up to Sean Hannity over marijuana legalization

May 28, 2011|By Luke Broadwater

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a GOP candidate for president, refused to back down from Fox News' Sean Hannity on the issue of legalizing marijuana last night. 

In a 20-minute segment on Hannity's show, Johnson fared relatively well in an interview with the host who oscillated between complimentary stances and antagonistic stances. 

Hannity called Johnson a "lesser known" candidate who is a "big underdog," but was generally hospitable to Johnson's ideas -- except when it came to drug legalization. 

"There's not one thing you've said so far that I disagree with," Hannity said, before getting into the decriminalization of drugs.

That's when Hannity said the discussion got "heated."  

"Half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts and the prisons is drug related and to what end?" Johnson asked. "$70 billion per year. We're arresting 1.8 million people a year in this country. And, we now have 2.3 million people behind bars. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world." 

Johnson said he's evaluated the issue from a "cost-benefit analysis" standpoint and determined decriminalization to be the wisest route. 

Johnson compared marijuana to alcohol and said there was a difference between the two. 

"Marijuana is a lot safer than alcohol," he said. 

Hannity disagreed, and later referred to Johnson's views on this issue as "repugnant" and a "moral destruction" to the "human soul." 

He said he didn't want the state to become "a pusher" and create "a bunch of junkies." 

Johnson then told Hannity that, statistically speaking, one of his two kids would use marijuana at some point in their lives -- and he would rather parents dealt with the issue, rather than the courts. 

"I don't want our kids criminalized," Johnson said. 

After Johnson brought up examples in Europe in which drug decriminalization was successful, Hannity said "we're not going to agree on this issue." 

You can watch the exchange below. It's toward the end of the segment. 

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