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Politics Notebook: Johnson explains remarks on Ebola, marijuana

Former Gov. Gary Johnson caught a few headlines – and at least a little flack – when he suggested on a national TV show this week that marijuana could be a cure for Ebola.

Johnson, who served as New Mexico’s governor from 1995 through 2002, stood by his remarks Wednesday. But he explained he was not claiming marijuana is, in fact, a cure for the Ebola virus that has killed nearly 4,500 people, mostly in West Africa.

GARY JOHNSON

GARY JOHNSON

He said he was simply arguing more research should be done on whether certain cannabis compounds might be effective in fighting the disease.

“If I were on a bed right now, and I was infected by Ebola, anything that might save my life I would take in a nanosecond,” Johnson told the Journal.

During his Monday in-studio appearance on FOX Business, Johnson went one step further, telling host Stuart Varney that “we actually believe we have efficacy with regard to treating Ebola.”

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This summer, Johnson, who lives in Taos and was the Libertarian nominee for president in 2012, was named CEO and president of Cannabis Sativa Inc., a company that plans on selling medical and recreational marijuana products.

While Johnson insisted his suggestion about marijuana and Ebola was not about money, FOX Business host Varney questioned that claim, at one point saying, “Of course it is.”

Varney also said Johnson’s argument in favor of easing government drug-testing regulations would lead to “snake oil salesmen” attempting to profit off the Ebola outbreak.

“I am not a snake oil salesman. I’m not. You know, I’m the former governor of New Mexico,” Johnson told KRQE-TV in response to Varney’s comments.

A state Health Department spokesman said Wednesday that the agency is “not aware of any studies suggesting that medical cannabis is a cure or treatment for Ebola.”

As governor, Johnson pushed for the legalization of pot.

WALTER WHITE ON THE STUMP: Democratic state auditor candidate Tim Keller’s first TV campaign ad uses “Breaking Bad” to fire up a down-ballot race.

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On the first day it was posted, the 30-second spot was viewed more than 12,000 times on YouTube and caught the attention of several national media outlets.

It features Keller standing in front of the carwash immortalized in “Breaking Bad,” the Albuquerque-based television drama about a teacher-turned-meth-dealer that won numerous Emmy awards.

Keller, a two-term state senator from Albuquerque, is described by the ad’s narrator as the “clean choice” in this year’s state auditor race.

The ad also attacks Keller’s Republican opponent, Robert Aragon, for allegedly failing to pay thousands of dollars in taxes.

Aragon has previously disclosed the tax liens against him, and his law firm and has said the liens were the result of an audit. Aragon said the firm had employees to handle tax matters. “But I take responsibility. … Every dime they said I owed, I paid.”

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