Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who runs a publicly traded marijuana products company called Cannabis Sativa, Inc. (stock symbol CBDS), predicts that pot will be legal throughout the United States within 10 years and that by then 20 percent of all legal pharmaceuticals will be cannabis-based.
Johnson, a Republican governor in 1995-2003 and a Libertarian presidential candidate in 2012, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Thursday that marijuana already competes directly with legal, opium-based prescription pain medicines.
Story continues below video.
Note: Watch Newsmax TV now on DIRECTV Ch. 349 and DISH Ch. 223
Get Newsmax TV on your cable system – Click Here Now
With recreational marijuana now permitted in two U.S. states, Washington and Colorado, where the medical-marijuana movement helped pave the way, Johnson said he was skeptical at first about the medicinal claims made on marijuana's behalf.
But over time he became convinced of the drug's efficacy — and its safety compared to opiates that are estimated to kill upwards of 100,000 people each year.
Johnson pointed to marijuana extracts that he said have shown "remarkable results" in treatment for children who have epilepsy, M.S. and Parkinson's, as well as adults suffering from Alzheimer's.
"This is the medical side of it," he said. "On the recreational side of it, I have always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to less overall substance abuse because people will find it as a safer alternative than alcohol or even harder drugs."
Johnson, who said he doesn't drink alcohol or smoke any substances, said that when he indulges, it's with the product that his company makes — marijuana contained in an edible lozenge.
"We are not involved in smoke products," he said.
He said he'll pop a lozenge under his tongue maybe once a week.
"I find it to be very pleasant," he said. "If you were to compare my experience with having a few drinks, I'd suggest the marijuana products are in fact much safer and offer perhaps the same level of pleasure that someone who's having a couple of drinks would have."
Johnson said that kind of casual interaction with marijuana will become the norm.
"The question is time," he said. "That's going to be over the 10-year time frame where the entire country becomes legal. Maybe Alabama and Mississippi are the holdout."
From there, he predicted, much the rest of the world will follow the U.S. lead.
Told he will make a lot of fast-food and drive-in window operators happy in the coming years, Johnson demurred.
"It's an appetite suppressant," he said of his core product.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.