Pro - Marijuana Candidate Gary Johnson Announces 2012 Presidential Bid

Gary Johnson US flag

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson Formally announces his bid for the GOP nomination in 2012. Johnson, made his announcement on the steps of the New Hampshire State House Thursday Morning. Johnson, 58 has been a strong supporter of marijuana legalization, joking once "I never exhaled."

Johnson served as governor from 1995 through 2003. Before that, he started a one-person fix-it business that grew to 1,000 employees. He says he can fix the nation by asking two simple questions: What are we spending our money on? And what are we getting in return?

“Today's mess didn't just happen. We elected it -- one senator, member of Congress and president at a time,” Johnson said in a statement. “Our leaders in Washington, D.C., have ‘led' America to record unemployment, a devalued currency, banking scandals, the mortgage crisis, drug crisis, economic crisis, loss of our nation's industrial might -- and a long list of other reminders our nation is way off course.”

More than just supporting legalization, though, Johnson admits to using weed both as a youth and more recently: between 2005 and 2007, after a paragliding accident, even though medical marijuana was at that point still illegal in New Mexico.

"Rather than using painkillers, which I have used on occasion before, I did smoke pot, as a result of having broken my back, blowing out both of my knees, breaking ribs, really taking about three years to recover,” Johnson says.

Johnson has foregone an exploratory committee and instead jumped straight into the race. He plans to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon, and on Friday he will host a kick-off event in Manchester. Johnson has spent much of the last year traveling the country as part of a campaign for his group, Our America Initiative.

"We can't afford to simply kick the can down the road for another four or eight years," he told supporters Thursday.