Marijuana

Chris Christie defends saying pot hurts quality of life in Colorado during fundraising visit

Back in April, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ripped the quality of life in Colorado due to marijuana legalization -- a statement that prompted Governor John Hickenlooper's office to come up with a list of eight ways Colorado tops New Jersey.

Yesterday, Christie was in Colorado to stump for Bob Beauprez, Hick's gubernatorial opponent, in the sort of visit calculated to raise his profile as a potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee. And when he was asked if he regretted ripping the state, his answer was a typically blustery and unequivocal "no."

See also: Photos: Top eight ways Colorado kicks the sh*t out of New Jersey

As we've reported, Christie has a regular spotlight show on a station known as New Jersey 101.5, and during an April program, a caller asked him about the legalization of marijuana, citing the revenues being collected by Colorado as a reason to consider it. But before she could continue, Christie cut her off.

"You say it may come down the road," he noted in a clip captured in videos below. "You know when it may come down the road? When I'm gone, because it's not going to come along now."

He went on to cite "a new study out in the Journal of Neuroscience that says that even casual marijuana smokers showed significant abnormalities in two vital brain regions important to motivation and emotion. Some of these people only used marijuana to get high once or twice a week.

"I am not going to be the governor who's going to tell our children and our young adults that marijuana use is okay, because it's not," he stressed, adding, "I don't care about the tax money that may come from it, and I don't care if people think it's inevitable. It's not inevitable here. I'm not going to permit it. Never, as long as I'm governor. You want to elect somebody else who's going to legalize marijuana and expose our children to that gateway drug and the effects it has on their brain? You'll have to live with yourself if you do that. But it's not going to be this governor who does it."

In a latter portion of the conversation, Christie said, "Go to Colorado and see if you wanna live there. Head shops popping up on every corner and people flying in just to get high."

Pot wasn't the motivation for Christie's own flight to the Mile High state. But during a made-for-television event alongside Beauprez at a Denver diner, CBS4's Shaun Boyd asked him about his Colorado-bashing remarks.

"I'm not backing off an inch from what I said," Christie told her. "What I said is what I believe. I think it's the wrong thing to do. I think legalizing marijuana is the wrong thing to do from a societal perspective, from a governmental perspective. I just disagree.

"I'll say exactly what I said: that I think that that diminishes the quality of life in a state that's legalizing an illegal drug," he went on. "Listen, I'm not one of those guys who's going to change my opinion because I'm standing in Colorado and go, 'Well, what I really meant was....' No, I meant what I said."

In Christie's view, "It doesn't mean that Colorado is not a great place. I'm sure it is. I think it would be greater if it didn't legalize marijuana."

Here's the CBS4 report, followed by a clip capturing Christie's remarks about marijuana in April.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts