Willie Nelson Endorses Gary Johnson for President

By Chris Good

Country music legend and avid pot smoker Willie Nelson has a horse in the 2012 race: former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson (R), the most prominent marijuana-legalization candidate in the field.

From a press release put out Tuesday by Nelson's Teapot Party:

American music legend Willie Nelson recently met with former New Mexico Governor and current Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson after a concert in Texas. The result of that historic meeting is today's endorsement of Johnson by Willie Nelson's Teapot Party.

"I am truly gratified to have the endorsement of such an iconic entertainer, philanthropist, innovator and champion for individual rights as Willie Nelson," Johnson says, accepting the endorsement. "Not only is he a superstar talent, he is a bold advocate for social change. Americans are demanding the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams without interference from a heavy-handed government, and Willie Nelson lends a tremendous voice to those demands."

Nelson formed the pro-marijuana Teapot Party two days after a marijuana arrest in Texas in late November. The group's motto: "We lean a little to the left."

Johnson is into legalization, big time. It's a major component of his stump speech. Aside from openly gay former Reagan strategist Fred Karger, Johnson is the only 2012 presidential candidate who professes to like marijuana, which he began smoking for pain relief after a serious 2005 paragliding accident. Ron Paul has classified marijuana as a states' rights issue; Johnson, on the other hand, calls for outright legalization.

The endorsement puts Nelson in agreement with the editorial staff of High Times.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/willie-nelson-endorses-gary-johnson-for-president/239105/