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Libertarian Gary Johnson expected to endorse FL medical marijuana effort

JohnsonaLibertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, the former Republican New Mexico governor, plans to advocate for a Florida medical-marijuana initiative.

"Johnson is expected to the endorse the current effort to put a Constitutional Amendment to legalize Medicinal Marijuana on the Florida ballot in 2014" said Johnson's Florida political advisor, Roger Stone, a one-time GOP operative who lives in Miami Beach.

It's a tough haul just getting an issue on the Florida ballot. And getting it passed is even harder -- it takes 60% to get a state constitutional amendment approved. The People United for Medical Marijuana group (PUFMM) has raised $40,628 and spent $33,470 since 2009 for the issue.

Johnson's pro-pot stance could pay dividends for his current presidential campaign. He's pulling just 1 percent in The Miami Herald's latest poll. But, as Ralph Nader proved in 2000, a percent means a lot in a tight Florida election.

As a former Republican who was locked out of all but two GOP presidential debates, Johnson will likely pull some conservative voters his way for his stance on taxes and regulation. Republicans are so scared of Johnson that they're trying to keep him off the ballot in some states. Both parties are trying to block him from the debates.

But Johnson will probably pull some liberals to --for his stance on taxes and regulation because Johnson would like a repeal of the spirit of the 1934 Marihuana Tax Act, which started to make pot illegal.

Stone points out that Johnson -- a former Republican New Mexico governor -- has cred in the pot movement, with the Marijuana Policy project ranking him as the 11th most-influential toker, noting this quote of his: “In that state somebody came by and said, 'Gary? Would marijuana help do you think?' And my response was immediately, 'Yes, I don't know why I didn't think of it, but I think that would help immensely.' And it did."

To get the message out, allies have passed out packs of Johnson-emblazoned "Live Free" rolling papers that are printed by a group calling itself the Thomas Jefferson Coalition, which features an apparently apocryphal quote from the founding father. Folks pass them out at Johnson rallies like a gay-rights discussion in Orlando.

"Pardons to all first time non-violent drug offenders," the packs say on one side. "Haven't American families suffered enough?"