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Chris Christie pledges crackdown on legal marijuana as president

By Oscar Pascual |

If elected president, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to bring America back to the dark days of a full-blown marijuana ban.

The likely Republican presidential candidate expressed his anti-pot stance in a recent interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, when the host asked Christie whether he would enforce federal drug laws in the legal marijuana states of Colorado and Washington.

“Absolutely,” Christie told Hewitt. “I will be tough and not allow it.”

While the answer was enough for Hewitt, who was ready to ask another question, Christie took more time to recite some cliches. Reefer Madness talking points in an effort to really get the point across.

“Marijuana is a gateway drug. We have a huge addiction problem in this country,” Christie added. “We need to send very clear leadership from the White House down through federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law, and states should not be allowed to sell and profit from it.”

Christie’s latest comments aren’t new – he’s had this anti-legalization stance for quite some time.

He called medical marijuana programs “a front for legalization,” giving him political coverage to delay and restrict implementation of New Jersey’s 2009 medical marijuana law.

Christie’s stubborn attitude spurred the Wilson family of New Jersey to uproot their hometown to treat their daughter’s assaults with legal cannabis oil in Colorado, which was documented in the CNN special “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness.”

Christie’s tough stance on the pot is clear, but what isn’t clear is why.

While his tough stance seems to fit the Republican Party perfectly, even the most credible, competitive GOP presidential candidates don’t share such tough views on weed. Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz expressed support for states’ right to vote on legal marijuana despite opposing legalization, when fellow GOP candidate Rand Paul is in fact engaged in marijuana reform as part of his main campaign platform, including reducing weed-related prison violations and supporting industrial hemp production.

Even if Christie emerged as a top-level GOP presidential candidate, according to Pew Research, he still has to win over the entire voting public, which is now 53 percent in favor of legalization. He would even risk winning the Republican youth vote, which supports legalization by 63 percent.

All signs point to bad omens for Christie, according to Marijuana Majority president and legalization attorney Tom Angell.

“If Christie wants to block sensible marijuana reforms in his own state of New Jersey, that’s one thing,” Angell told the newspaper. Huffington Post. “But it’s especially unacceptable — and not very conservative, I’d add — that he says he would use federal funds to overturn the will of voters in a growing number of other states that go beyond prohibition.

Angell added, “Maybe he forgot that Colorado is a major swing state in presidential elections.”

Photo credit: Flickr.com/gageskidmore

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