When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s final term expires next January, the state will likely elect a Democrat to replace the Republican. And unlike Christie — who is an outspoken opponent of marijuana reform — the current gubernatorial frontrunner, U.S. ambassador Phil Murphy, sees cannabis legalization as a financial opportunity.
Speaking at a conference hosted by the New Jersey Hospital Association in Princeton, New Jersey, Christie had some choice words for pro-cannabis legislators:
“They want that blood money? Let them do it. And they will. Let me tell you something — this will be like priority number one come January. I guarantee you, if we have a Democratic governor, it will be priority number one.”
New Jersey’s current medical marijuana program was voted into law just before Christie took office in January 2010. Throughout his term, Governor Christie has continually inhibited the state’s medical marijuana program from swift expansion: PTSD was just added to New Jersey’s list of qualifying medical conditions last year and chronic pain is currently under consideration.
Last year, New Jersey Democrats led by Senator Nick Scutari took a pilgrimage to Colorado to see how legalization worked; Scutari concluded the “sky hasn’t fallen.” Senate President Steve Sweeney added that “I’m committed to it. We are going to have a new governor in January 2018. As soon as the governor gets situated we are all here and we intend to move quickly on it.”
Christie targeted those legislators specifically, comparing their efforts to legalize cannabis with more illicit drugs:
“People like Nick Scutari and Steve Sweeney and Phil Murphy want to bring this poison, legalized, into this state under the premise that, well, it doesn’t matter because people can buy it illegally anyway,” Christie said. “Then why not legalize heroin? I mean, their argument fails just on that basis. Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize heroin. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference? Let everybody choose.”
Heroin overdoses kill over 50,000 Americans annually. There are no recorded deaths from cannabis consumption in the history of mankind.
Christie’s distaste for cannabis is well-documented. While running for President, Christie promised to undo cannabis legalization laws, saying “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
In 2012, Christie vetoed a New Jersey medical marijuana bill: “the federal government still says marijuana is an illegal drug. I don’t think we should send any sort of tacit approval to our children that somehow this is not bad anymore,” said Christie.
In late March, the Trump Administration tapped Chris Christie as the chair of a special commission designed to curb America’s opioid crisis.
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