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Cannabis Advocate Vows To Become 'First Openly Gay Man With AIDS' To Run For President

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A Hollywood man who has lived with AIDS for 25 years announced Friday he plans to become what he says would be the "first openly gay man living with AIDS" to run for president of the United States.

With City Councilman Paul Koretz standing at his side, Richard Eastman was honored by the Los Angeles City Council for his longtime advocacy of cannabis-related medical treatments.

Now 66 years old, Eastman was down to a just a handful of T-cells when he was diagnosed with the virus in 1994, but was able to get out of bed and walk out of the hospital nearly a year later, according to the council resolution commending him for his "civil leadership and advocacy surrounding medical marijuana".

Eastman - who spoke in the council chambers while wearing a steampunk top hat, a hemp leaf medallion and a black vest over a colorful shirt - took the opportunity to announce he would join the list of political hopefuls looking to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Richard Eastman
Richard Eastman was honored by the City Counicil for his (Screengrab via LA City Council)

Referring to himself as a "right on" - not a "write-in" - candidate, Eastman said he has yet to file candidacy paperwork but that his doctor had cleared him to campaign for what he said would be the "first openly gay man living with AIDS" to run for the White House.

At one point, Eastman broke out in an impromptu performance of the 1960s classic song, "The 5th Dimension Age of Aquarius".

A lifelong Democrat, Eastman said he has yet to decide on a political party affiliation.

"If Snoop Dogg decides to run with me, we're painting the White House green the next day," said Eastman.

It's not Eastman's first foray into local politics: he embarked on an unsuccessful run for the L.A. City Council and supported a failed effort to make Hollywood secede from L.A. and become its own city. He also served on the county Commission on HIV for four years.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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