JACKSON — Casey Hardison is out of jail and running for president.
“This is not a joke,” he said. “I am not trying to be absurd. I am trying to cause transformation and create a world that is safer for our children.”
In a Jan. 22 interview with the News&Guide, Hardison announced his 2024 bid for president. The announcement comes just a month after Hardison entered no contest pleas to two felony counts of delivery of marijuana in 9th Judicial District Court.
“I took the plea deal for integrity,” he said. “I recognize I was in the jurisdiction of the state of Wyoming when I conducted what would be an unlawful action in the transfer of marijuana to someone who was interested in purchasing it.”
Though Hardison hopes the convictions will get overturned on appeal, he said either way he can run for president.
And that’s what he intends to do.
“There is no federal disbarment from being the president of the United States for having a felony conviction for marijuana,” Hardison said.
According to Jim King, professor of political science at the University of Wyoming, there are only a few requirements to run for president: A candidate must be a natural born citizen, at least 35 and a U.S. resident for 14 years.
Hardison also plans to revive the Democratic-Republican Party, “the oldest party in the United States of America,” he said.
The party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the early 1790s as an opposition to the Federalist Party, King said.
“It goes back to the founding era,” King said. “Organizationally the party he is attempting to revive went out of business, if you will, in the 1820s.”
King said Hardison will be faced with more obstacles running as a third-party candidate than those who vie for nominations from the active political parties.
“Is it unheard of? No. Is it difficult? Yeah,” King said. “There are all sorts of procedural laws.”
Hardison said he’s up for the challenge and familiar with the requirements to get his name on enough ballots to be a national candidate in 2024.
So far his campaign headquarters is in Jackson and he has a manager and advisors helping out behind the scenes. His team is already in touch with the Federal Election Commission, he said, where hopefuls fill out required forms for candidacy.
One of Hardison’s main motivations to run is to transform drug laws in America.
“We are working out policy positions at the moment,” Hardison said. “But liberty is fundamental. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, tired of the tyranny of the English monarch. And for one thing I am tired of the tyranny of the war on some people who use some drugs.”
Hardison, who’s often referred to as a semifamous drug wizard and chemist, is best known for challenging U.S. drug laws and spending time in prison for running a European LSD lab.
“By the transformation of drug law I am intent on overturning the controlled substances act in the state of Wyoming and the federal jurisdiction as well,” he said, “and replacing it with a more rational, more thoughtful, more humane system of regulating people’s behavior with respect to all drugs.”
Hardison has said drug laws violate his human rights.
“I want to get to a point where it is not only safe or relatively safe but where it is lawful for individuals to alter their mental functioning with psychoactive drugs without fear of criminal repercussion,” he said.
Hardison said Americans should be able to alter their mental functioning with substances, as long as it doesn’t harm others. And while he believes the constitution should be upheld, he thinks some tweaks are necessary.
“The number one policy position is that the United States constitution must be preserved by lawful means,” he said. “I believe in the Constitution of the United States of America.
“I believe there are some amendments especially in regards to ethics, integrity and responsibility that could be placed in there for all politicians. But I believe that document has centuries of imbedded wisdom in it.”
Another policy position Hardison has outlined is making federal government financial dealings transparent by making them digital.
“We will introduce all-digital currency to the United States government in disbursement systems such that it’s blockchain auditable so there can be no secret expenditures whatsoever ever again that aren’t auditable by the people of the United States of America,” he said.
An example, Hardison said, is, “right now the U.S. can print dollar bills and put it on a pallet and send it to a foreign country and lose it and not know why they lost it or where it went. But if all expenditures were all digital blockchain traceable the people of the United States would be able to observe where the expenditures went.”
Hardison said it’s important for a government to be open about how the public’s money is being spent.
“I do not want my tax dollars funding clandestine operations that are not in the interest of the public,” he said.
Hardison, who voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 and complimented the president’s recent calls for unity, said his fame as a formerly incarcerated acid chemist will help his own presidential campaign.
“You’ve imprisoned my body, but you can’t imprison my mind,” Hardison said.
For his upcoming sentencing in Teton County District Court, which isn’t yet scheduled, Hardison said he’s hoping for probation, though according to the charges he could face up to four years in state prison.
At previous court hearings Hardison has promised the court to abide by its rules while out on bond and later on parole.
If things go as he’s planned, Hardison will serve his sentence on probation without issue and win an appeal at the Wyoming Supreme Court, all while running a successful campaign to become the next leader of the free world.