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Gary Johnson: Gingrich Would Have Taken War on Drugs to a Lethal Level

Press release at

Former Speaker Proposed Death Penalty for Bringing 2 Ozs. Of Marijuana Into U.S.

January 23, 2012, New York, NY — Appearing on MSNBC Saturday, former New Mexico Governor and presidential candidate Gary Johnson reminded viewers that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich sponsored legislation (text below) in 1996 that would have imposed the death penalty for Americans caught bringing as little as 2 ounces of marijuana into the country.

Video here:Gary Johnson Talks About Newt Gingrich Proposing Death Penalty for Carrying 2 Oz. of Marijuana
(note from Paulie: no link to the video at original)

In a statement released today, Johnson elaborated, “Ideas are important, especially in a presidential campaign. But some of Speaker Gingrich’s ideas over the years are nothing short of scary. Under his legislation, anyone coming home to the U.S. and caught carrying enough marijuana (2 oz.) to distribute would be sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole – or if caught twice, would be sentenced to death.

“This from someone who has admitted his own past marijuana use, saying ‘it was a sign we were alive and in graduate school’. And in 1981, Mr. Gingrich actually introduced legislation providing for the ‘therapeutic use of marijuana. (HR 4498, 97th Congress)

“On drug policy alone, I am beginning to see what Rick Santorum means when he talks about the former Speaker having an idea a minute. We are talking about millions of Americans’ lives here, and having positions ranging from embracing medical marijuana to the death penalty for possessing a small amount of that same substance is astounding both in its hypocrisy and its inconsistency.

“The War on Drugs is a failure, and bold steps are in order to align drug policy with reality and humanity. But Newt Gingrich’s notion of bold is not what we need.”

# # # #

Text of Gingrich Legislation:

H.R. 4170 (Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996) to the House of Representatives sought to “provide a sentence of death for certain importations of significant quantities of controlled substances”.

Section 2: Increased Penalties For International Drug Trafficking

Section 1010 of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (21 U.S.C. 960) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(e)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall sentence a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a), consisting of bringing into the United States a mixture or substance– (A) which is described in subsection (b)(1); and (B) in an amount the Attorney General by rule has determined is equal to 100 usual dosage amounts of such mixture or substance; to imprisonment for life without possibility of release. If the defendant has violated this subsection on more than one occasion and the requirements of chapter 228 of title 18, United States Code, are satisfied, the court shall sentence the defendant to death. (2) The maximum fine that otherwise may be imposed, but for this subsection, shall not be reduced by operation of this subsection.’ September 25, 1996, 104th Congress (1995 – 1996), H.R.4170

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  1. Catholic Trotskyist Catholic Trotskyist January 29, 2012

    Santorum is much better than that lying hipocritical fake Catholic Gingrich. I don’t like Santorum’s pro-war policies, but he’s a good person.

  2. matt cholko matt cholko January 29, 2012

    When I sit back and think about it, it really makes me sick to my stomach that there are millions of people in this country that vote for people like Gingrich and Santorum.

    I mean, Obama, Romney, and other clowns like them aren’t much better. But guys like Gingich and Santorum are the absolute dregs of society, yet millions of people actually think they should be in positions of power. I simply cannot understand it.

  3. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt January 29, 2012

    Ad Hoc @ 4: We can only hope…

  4. Starchild Starchild January 29, 2012

    Gary Johnson is right — Newt Gingrich’s monumental hypocrisy on marijuana should disqualify him from consideration by anyone who values honesty and principle.

  5. Ad Hoc Ad Hoc January 29, 2012

    I’m sure Gingrich probably used at least 2 ounces of marijuana while he was “alive and in grad school” (and quite possibly since then).

    No one would be importing marijuana if it were not for the users, so perhaps Gingrich should start by imposing the death penalty on himself.

  6. paulie paulie January 29, 2012

    Gingrich as the current “frontrunner” shows just how far down the Republican party will go. They’ll take an adulterous, lying, unprincipled scoundrel just because he promises to continue murdering people in other countries.

    That, and racial innuendo.

    The GOP deserves to die a sudden and horrid death.

    Very late term abortion?

  7. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt January 29, 2012

    Gingrich as the current “frontrunner” shows just how far down the Republican party will go. They’ll take an adulterous, lying, unprincipled scoundrel just because he promises to continue murdering people in other countries. The GOP deserves to die a sudden and horrid death.

  8. It’s a dangerous world in which we live indeed. If pressed, wouldn’t doubt. Romney or Santorum aren’t far off from Gingrich’s ideas! It’s 2012 and we still have to face prohibition, because IMO gov’t officials ALL OVER this country are receiving kickback cash to keep the prohibition going!

    “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
    – Ayn Rand

    Gary Johnson 2012: War on Drugs:

    “The war on drugs is a war on poor people using street drugs waged by rich people on prescription drugs.”
    -Rosanne Barr.

    It’s just true. And sooo SAD.

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