The former New Mexico governor and U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate in 2012, Gary Johnson, has been named as the CEO and president of a Nevada-based startup known as Cannabis Sativa Inc. The company will sell medical and recreational marijuana.
Johnson, who was named CEO on Tuesday, has high hopes for the company. He plans to expand Cannabis Sativa into a major pot business that will develop marijuana products for states like Colorado and Washington, where cannabis is legal. In particular, Johnson hopes to create products like marijuana-based oils that can help children suffering from epilepsy — as well as cough drop-like items for recreational use.
“I generally believe this is changing the planet for the better,” Johnson said. “It also is a bet on the future … We think we have the crème de la crème of marijuana products.”
Johnson isn’t the first politician to get into pot. Various others, including former president Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, have taken a stance in support of weed legalization — or at least a different approach to current pot laws. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do …We should not be locking up kids or individuals users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing,” Obama said in support of legalization. “It’s important for [the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington] to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
As Johnson’s announcement arrives on Tuesday, so does the beginning of a transformation in the Colorado recreational marijuana industry. New laws will allow newcomers to the industry to apply for recreational marijuana licenses, whereas previously only owners of marijuana shops could apply to open stores. In addition, all marijuana businesses will be allowed to specialize as opposed to remaining generalists, which involved only selling pot they grew.
Johnson will have a $1 salary per year, and will receive equity in the company. “Couple of things hit you when you try the product,” he said. “One is, wow, why would anybody smoke marijuana given this is an alternative? And then secondly, it’s just very, very pleasant. I mean, very pleasant.”
“I think in 10 years, for the most part, the U.S. will legalize marijuana,” Johnson continued. “And what the U.S. does, so does the world.”