In recent months, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has repeatedly said that he does not agree with marijuana legalization and would most likely end the current policy which allows states to determine their own marijuana laws provided they meet certain criteria, earning him a grade of "F" on MPP's Presidential Report Card.
On Tuesday, Gov. Christie reaffirmed this position, saying that state laws making marijuana legal are numbered if he is elected president. The Huffington Post reports:
“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie said Tuesday during a Newport, New Hampshire, town-hall meeting, Bloomberg reports. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
Christie, one of 16 Republicans campaigning for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, has made no secret of his long-held opposition to cannabis. As governor of New Jersey, he has opposed even his own state's limited medical marijuana program and has called similar laws in 22 other states a "front" for full recreational legalization. He has described taxes generated from the sale of marijuana as "blood money." And earlier this year in no uncertain terms, he said that, as president, he would "crack down and not permit" recreational cannabis in states that have legalized it.
Even Christie's fellow Republicans don't seem to favor such a hard-line stance. According to a recent Pew survey, while most GOP voters do not support legalization, they do support states' rights when it comes to marijuana -- with 54 percent saying that the federal government should not interfere with states that have already legalized cannabis. Among millennial Republicans, support for legalizing marijuana is significant -- with 63 percent in favor.
"Gov. Christie is either totally clueless or utterly careless," Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Huffington Post. "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."
Interestingly, Gov. Christie's dedication to enforcing federal law does not extend to sports gambling in his state, which is currently illegal under a 1992 federal ban.
Check out this encounter MPP's Matt Simon had with Gov. Christie in New Hampshire this morning:
Here is the second debate between MPP's Mason Tvert and prohibitionist Bishop Ron Allen on Fox & Friends, as promised.
On Thursday, MPP's Mason Tvert appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss a law that was recently passed in Berkeley, California that directs medical marijuana dispensaries to donate a portion of their medicine to low-income patients. This idea did not sit well with noted prohibitionist Bishop Ron Allen:
Mason will be back on Fox & Friends this Saturday morning, where he will reportedly continue his discussion with Bishop Allen.
In Steve Fox's third appearance on Fox & Friends, he discusses the passage of Arizona's Proposition 203. At the end of this "fair and balanced" debate, Mr. Fox is cut off before he can respond to some extremely dubious statements. Read Mr. Fox's rebuttal after the video.
From Steve Fox:
The closing argument by Paul Charlton about MPP's disinterest in seeing marijuana go through the FDA approval process was both inaccurate and uninformed. Since 2002, MPP has engaged in a wide range of lobbying efforts in an attempt to pressure the DEA into granting a license to the University of Massachusetts to cultivate marijuana for FDA-approved research. Currently, anyone who wants to conduct research on the therapeutic benefits of marijuana must seek permission from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to acquire marijuana from the only federally-approved marijuana farm in the country at the University of Mississippi. But no corporation or organization would be able to use this marijuana for testing purposes and then bring the product to market, since they would not have control of the substance nor would they be able to prove that they could reproduce it.
A separate marijuana cultivation facility, which could effectively work with a private company or organization to develop and test a specific strain of marijuana, is needed in order to navigate the FDA process and bring a marijuana-based product to market. Yet the DEA has intentionally blocked the University of Massachusetts application for eight years, despite the fact that an administrative law judge within the DEA ruled in 2007 that granting the license would be "in the public interest."
If Mr. Charlton is truly interested in allowing science to determine whether marijuana is a medicine, he should join MPP in calling on the DEA to award the cultivation license to the University of Massachusetts. If he isn't willing to do that, he needs to find a new -- and accurate -- talking point.