Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has admitted smoking marijuana for three years.
He said he started smoking the drug for medicinal purposes and said: ‘For luck, I guess, I wasn’t arrested’.
The Republican politician ran New Mexico from 1995 to 2003.
In 2005 he was involved in a near-fatal accident breaking multiple bones, including his back.
His paragliding wing got caught in a tree and he fell approximately fifty feet to the ground.
He apparently had an adverse reaction to painkillers he was prescribed, including withdrawal symptoms.
Mr Johnson said ‘someone’ close to him gave him some marijuana to ease his pain and he ended up smoking the drug for the next three years.
‘It was illegal. Medical marijuana was not something that was allowed in New Mexico at the time,’ Johnson said.
He added: ‘I didn’t want to be using painkillers, and somebody offered the marijuana as a way to ease the pain I was experiencing.’
The 57-year-old said he believes marijuana should be legalised and taxed by the government.
Mr Johnson has shown interest in running for president in 2012 so his admission is surprising to some political analysts who believe it may affect his chances.
But John McCormack from The Weekly Standard who interviewed the former governor said he doesn’t think it will affect Mr Johnson’s standing.
‘For a typical presidential candidate, admitting to illegally smoking marijuana just a few years ago would be badly damaging’, Mr McCormack wrote.
‘But Gary Johnson isn’t a typical candidate. He’s a libertarian prophet crying out for the Republican Party to ‘get back to the religion of the pocketbook’ and spreading his message takes precedence over appealing to Republican primary voters,’ he added.
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