If Chris Christie is Elected President, Say Goodbye to Marijuana Reform

By Zachary Siegel 07/29/15

The Republican hopeful curiously espouses by far the harshest stance against the marijuana movement.

Chris Christie
Screaming for attention. Photo via

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has come out as the lone Republican presidential hopeful to take a hardened stance against marijuana legalization in an attempt to set himself apart from an extremely crowded field.

“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie said during a Newport, New Hampshire, town hall meeting. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”

Though few GOP voters care to see the legalization of cannabis for recreational use, they do purport to stand for states’ rights, especially when it comes to marijuana. What may be even more troublesome for Christie is that 63% of millennial Republicans support legalizing marijuana, according to a recent poll conducted by Pew.

Last January in Denver, $2.35 million in taxes generated from marijuana sales went straight to public schools. Christie calls this form of revenue "blood money."

“That's blood money,” he said last March at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new drug treatment facility. “I'm not going to put the lives of children and citizens at risk to put a little more money into the state coffers, at least not on my watch."

Exactly how recreational marijuana puts lives at risk is yet to be answered. Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Huffington Post that, "Gov. Christie is either totally clueless or utterly careless."

"If Gov. Christie is trying to distinguish himself from the other Republican candidates, he’s doing a good job. He clearly has the least respect for states’ rights and the most desire to maintain our federal government’s failed program of marijuana prohibition."

Similarly, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance told The Fix, “Maybe it’s a way to separate himself from the crowd. It’s a sign of the times that Christie’s opposing marijuana legalization so vociferously distinguishes him from other Republican candidates.”

“In the past, most would have joined or tried to one-up him on the evils of marijuana, whereas now you hear more and more of the candidates saying the issue should be left to the states,” he said.

Christie is currently averaging 3.2% in the national polls for the Republican nomination.

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.