Former New Mexico Gov. Gary JohnsonGary JohnsonCourt: Excluding outside parties from presidential debates does not violate First Amendment Juan Williams: Dems finally focus on message Mueller to give first speech since taking on Russia probe MORE was named president and chief executive of a company that plans to sell marijuana in legal markets. 

Cannabis Sativa, Inc. also announced its merger with a separate company that works in research and development. 

Johnson, who ran for president in 2012 on the Libertarian Party ticket, has long been an advocate for legalizing marijuana. He said there has been a rush of demand since it was legalized in two states in 2012. 

"With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, we are already seeing that the demand is significant," he said in a statement. "We believe the opportunity is here to deliver products that could change the world for the better."

Johnson said the company, based in Nevada, would focus on products for both medical use and recreational use. He told The Associated Press he expects marijuana to be legal in most states in the next decade. 

"I think in 10 years, for the most part, the U.S. will legalize marijuana. And what the U.S. does, so does the world," he said. 

Johnson was elected governor of New Mexico in 1994 and served two terms as a Republican. He initially ran for the GOP nomination for president in the last election before dropping out to run under the Libertarian banner, when his primary campaign did not gain traction.