10/18/2011 11:20 am ET | Updated Dec 18, 2011

Gary Johnson On Marijuana Legalization: Politicians Won't 'Speak The Truth' On The Issue

Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson is baffled that more politicians don't support legalizing marijuana, after a new Gallup poll shows that an all-time high of 50 percent of Americans favor legalization.

"Where is the political leadership that should be reflecting that common sense belief?" said the former New Mexico governor in a statement on Tuesday

"This may be the only issue on the national scene where half the American people support something, but zero percent, statistically speaking, of elected officials and politicians will publicly agree with them," he added. "Yet, for the most part, there are no politicians who will speak that truth, much less act upon it. With 50% of Americans open to the idea of legalization, why won't the ruling class at least let us have the conversation?"

The support for legalizing marijuana jumped from 36 percent in 2006 to 50 percent. Majorities of self-identified liberals, 18-49 year-olds, moderates, independents and Democrats favor legalizing marijuana use. Those over the age of 65, conservatives and Republicans were most opposed.

Johnson has said he smoked marijuana in his youth and from 2005 to 2008, to alleviate pain after an accident. He dubbed marijuana smokers "the largest untapped voting bloc." In 1999, he came out for the legalization of marijuana as governor of New Mexico. He left office in 2003 after being term-limited after two terms.

Though the Republican candidates are debating tonight in Las Vegas, CNN has excluded Johnson from tonight's debate, as has been the case for several of the previous debates.