Chris Christie is the most unpopular governor in the United States, according to an April poll. He will leave office in January of 2018 after a very controversial and unproductive eight year term as New Jersey governor. With both of the leading candidates to replace him coming out in support of marijuana legalization and promising to, at the very least, legalize medical marijuana when elected, Christie felt the need to make his opinion heard on marijuana legislation.
Christie’s statements on marijuana came during a conference on substance abuse in Princeton. Christie stated “People like Nick Scutari and Steve Sweeney and Phil Murphy [leading Democratic candidate for governor] 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, when asked about the billions of dollars of potential tax revenues from legal, regulated, medical marijuana, stated, “They want that blood money? Let them do it.”
Christie is one of the many politicians attempting to spread the same “reefer madness” that has plagued the U.S. for years and the same “reefer madness” that put 8.2 million people in prison for marijuana (88% of which were for simple possession) between 2001 and 2010, according to the ACLU.
It is clear that Christie’s opinions on marijuana are in the ever increasing minority, and it is only a matter of time before legal marijuana wins out. It is important however to recognize that there are still politicians who are spreading lies and non-facts about a plant that has the chance to help millions.
While Christie’s rhetoric may not seem dangerous coming from a former presidential candidate and lame-duck governor, it is dangerous due to the fact that he is actually the head of the Trump administration’s drug addiction task force. The goal of the task force is to combat opioid and heroin addictions in the U.S. The frightening part about christie being in charge of opioid addiction in the U.S., is that he has before said that marijuana is a “gateway drug” that leads to users becoming part of “an enormous addiction problem in this country.”
Chris Christie’s statements are clearly not factual, in fact, he even stated during the conference that teenage marijuana users are 10 times more likely to become heroin addicts by age 24, without stating any factual evidence to back the claim.
Christie now has the ability to affect drug policy in the U.S. Due to the fact that he believes marijuana use leads to opioid addiction, it is reasonable to believe that Christie will be promoting anti-marijuana hysteria within the White House.
Along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has stated that “No good person smokes marijuana,” Chris Christie and others like Mike Pence make the Trump administration the most openly anti-marijuana administration since Ronald Reagan. It is important for all pro-marijuana activists to stand up to non-factual statements and criticize our leaders when they do make false claims.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.