Pot Shot

Kimberly Swanson hopes to ride a marijuana leaf to election to the state Senate.

"After 9/11, I wanted to run again to show the way for the United States to go to peace, not war," Kimberly Swanson says. The 44-year-old property manager and artist of handknotted Native American items last sought office 10 years ago, took time off to raise her daughter and now is the District 28 Libertarian candidate for state Senate.

Swanson shares some views with those running for the district's House seats, including opposing cuts in educational funding and raising salaries for state legislators. She also favors more preventive medicine to try and hold down the rapidly rising cost of health care.

But unlike the House candidates, Swanson supports a voucher system for public schools and opposes all three Indian gaming propositions. Plus, she adds, "Libertarians are against taxes and prohibitions. We're the best of the Republicans and Democrats melded together. I'll try to get rid of old laws that are preventing people from doing things."

The chief target of that effort will be to end the legal prohibition against marijuana. When asked if that is a popular view in the district, Swanson enthusiastically replies, "Absolutely! It's a $1.4 billion economy in the city. There is tons of support from people tired of the prohibition."

She thinks this step would be an economic boost for Arizona as people use hemp to make cloth, paper and strawbale homes. "It would have a true domino effect," she says.

In addition to consumer products, Swanson envisions that ending the prohibition on marijuana and its related materials could help replace petroleum products. "You can only dig up so many dead dinosaurs," she muses.

"Marijuana should be available at Circle K's, like beer and tobacco," Swanson says. "The prohibition against it hasn't worked, but has cost a lot of money. A lot of people tell me, 'I don't give a shit about politics, but marijuana is dear to me.' These people don't like to be told what to do by some punks in the Legislature."

While most prognosticators would consider her a very long shot, Swanson thinks she has a 50-50 chance to beat Democrat Gabrielle Giffords for the Senate seat. Speaking hopefully of her campaign signs which bear a marijuana logo, she says, "Once my name becomes synonymous with that leaf, I don't have a chance of losing."