Johnson's willingness to break step with the vast majority of US politicians on prohibition is brave, although a trailblazer is often doomed to forge a path that others later follow with more success. His views on marijuana aren't at odds with US voters. But the powerful TV networks and party establishment are proving slower to follow public opinion, which leaves him starved of publicity.
And that's a shame. Without the full participation of a dissenting voice like Johnson's, drug and addiction issues are set to receive little airtime in the 2012 presidential campaign. The Fix has asked several other candidates for an interview or statement on their drug policy and received no response—except from a spokeswoman from the Michele Bachmann campaign, who simply replied, "What drug policy?" Whatever your views on prohibition, this lack of political scrutiny of a vital policy area—directly affecting many millions of Americans and others around the world, and perceived by many to be failing—is anything but healthy.