20ish Questions with
Gary Johnson Governor to Cannabis Executive by P. Aiden Hunt Gary Johnson, former two-term governor of New Mexico and 2012 presidential candidate, is adding another position to his resume: Cannabis Mogul. Cannabis Sativa, Inc. appointed Johnson as its new President and CEO on June 30. The Nevada-based company plans to sell cannabis-infused lozenges designed by activist Steve Kubby. Kubby joined Cannabis Sativa as its Chairman of the Board at the same time as Johnson’s move. The deal that led to the new management included Cannabis Sativa buying Kubby’s company KUSH and the related patents and research. Publicly traded stock in Cannabis Sativa has jumped from $4.00 per share before the leadership change was announced on June 30 to $10 per share as of end of business, August 18. Johnson agreed to the job with a salary of $1/year, but received stock in the new company. So far, that deal looks to be paying off for Johnson. THC interviewed the former governor by phone on July 17. He told us about the new company, how the cannabis industry is changing the world for the better and peaceful civil disobedience as a means for change. The Hemp Connoisseur: How did you first get involved with cannabis? Gary Johnson: Marijuana was part of growing up [for me], as it was tens of millions of people, and I just found it to be such a better alternative than alcohol. That it was safer. Today, it’s kind of an oxymoron, but I remain a competitive athlete at 61-years-old. THC: Did you ever envision that you would work in the cannabis industry? GJ: No, I never thought that that would happen. I’m excited to be working in the industry because I, perhaps as well as anyone, understand the opportunity that does exist, and it’s an opportunity that’s changed the world for the better; medically and recreationally both. THC: Why this company and why now? GJ: Well, it’s an opportunity that’s been made available to me [by] Steve Kubby, the person who’s come up with the proprietary Sativa strain and the Sativa lozenge that [he] has produced for himself medically. Having done that one on about a dozen occasions I just find it to be a very, very pleasant experience and the notion of smoking to me—I’m averse to smoking—I think most Americans are. I think smoking is something that’s happening less and less. People don’t like to smoke and here it is, a sublingual product, a lozenge, something you suck on that … takes the edge off and lasts for a long time. THC: What prior experience will you bring to your new position? GJ: I did start a one-man handyman business in Albuquerque in 1974 and I actually grew that business to over a thousand employees. That was me. One person to a thousand people. I did that. I think I was born with just an overdose of common sense and that starts with being on time or keeping your word and the integrity that you have. That’s what I bring to the equation. You can count on me to do what I say I’m going to do.
aiming for the top shelf and we really think that what we have is the best. We think what we have is the crème de la crème. THC: Can you explain your views on edibles as opposed to smoking? GJ: I find [sublingual lozenges] to be the best of all worlds. I find it interesting that New York State adopts medical marijuana, but they’re not going to allow it to be smoked. There needs to be research and I’m screaming it, “There needs to be research and development that goes along with this.” THC: How do you feel cannabis regulation should be handled? GJ: Well, it’s analogous to Dallas Buyers Club [the award-winning 2013 movie about Ron Woodroof, who worked around laws banning AIDS medication that was not approved in the U.S.] They’re arresting people buying it and they’re not allowing it on-market, while they should be going full steam ahead with, “Use it as you see fit and we’re gonna set up studies and research on it”—which ultimately did happen and that’s the medication that remains in place today. You mix the CBD lozenge with THC and all of a sudden, man, you’ve got direct competition to all of the prescription painkillers that are out there that statistically kill over a 100,000 people a year, but no reported deaths from the use of marijuana. So you look at the CBD oil side of it, you look at CBD oil with THC and that’s the medical. You apply it topically and it reduces inflammation. You eat it and it actually reduced … tumors. Nobody can tell you why and yet it’s happening. You go to the recreational side and I just continue to maintain that marijuana is much, much safer than alcohol and overall substance abuse will decline dramatically because people will find this as such a safer alternative than anything else that takes the edge off, if you wanna call it that.
THC: What can we expect from Cannabis Sativa, Inc.?
THC: So you support the peaceful breaking of laws in states without medical marijuana laws or for peaceful protest?
GJ: Well, right now, I think there are—I’m going to guess at the number—I think there are a hundred companies that if you were to take the time and do the interviews are kinda, sorta claiming the same things we are. So what we’ve gotta do, we gotta prove ourselves. We have to get our products on the shelf and we’re
GJ: Well, yeah, that’s the whole civil disobedience. That’s kind of what the country has always been based on and the more civil disobedience that exists the more there are changed laws. Tens of millions of us have engaged in that in the last 40 years and look what’s happened. Hey, we’re finally here.
32 September 2014