As we've reported, many of the Republican hopefuls who have either declared for the 2016 presidential contest or are expected to do so — including Jeb Bush — have taken semi-moderate positions in regard to Colorado's legalization of limited recreational marijuana sales.
The approach of Bush, senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and others involves expressing an antipathy for marijuana use but supporting the right of states to make their own policies about it, even if their laws contradict federal statutes.
But New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn't following this trend. In an interview with CBS' Face the Nation broadcast on Sunday, he stressed that if he becomes president, a Colorado crackdown will soon follow.
Here's a video featuring part of the exchange...
...and here's an excerpt from our previous post:
The governor has a regular spotlight show on a station known as New Jersey 101.5, and during his most recent 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 notes in a clip captured on the video below. "You know when it may come down the road? When I'm gone, because it's not going to come along now."
He goes 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 goes on, 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. 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 not captured in the clip, 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."
Afterward, the office of Governor John Hickenlooper came up with examples of ways in which the Rocky Mountain state is superior to the one Christie calls home, which we highlighted in a post entitled "Top Eight Ways Colorado Kicks the Sh*t Out of New Jersey."
But Christie wasn't cowed. In July 2014, he defended saying that marijuana hurts the quality of life in Colorado while campaigning for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, who fell short in his bid to unseat Hickenlooper the following November.
Since then, Christie has continued to float his presidential prospects, and during his Face the Nation sit-down with host John Dickerson, he chose as a backdrop a drug-treatment facility. Many of his statements on related topics may strike many observers as progressive, in that he champions treatment of people with drug issues over jail time.
"What I've been saying in New Jersey is that we can no longer incarcerate our way out of this problem," he says. "We need to give treatment. This is a disease, and every life is precious. We need to give people an opportunity and the tools to deal with this disease.
"I think quite frankly the War on Drugs has been a failure," Christie adds, "and what we need to do now is to give people the tools that we know we have available to them. We know how to help people, so let's do it. Let's stop spending money on incarcerating non-violent people because they're drug-addicted."
The tone does a flip-flop, however, when the topic turns to pot.
"You've said marijuana is a gateway drug," Dickerson begins. "If you were president, would you return to federal prosecutions in states like Colorado and Washington state?"
Christie's response: "Yes."
"If you're president, that's getting turned off?" Dickerson follows.
"Correct," Christie says.
Dickerson's next question: "How are you going to win in Colorado if you're doing that?"
"Listen, I think there are a lot of people in Colorado who aren't thrilled about what's going on there," he replies before asking, "You know how you win any state? You go out and tell people the truth and you lay out your ideas and you either win or you lose.
"When I went out and campaigned for folks in Colorado, I've said it," he continues, referencing the aforementioned comments during the Beauprez visit. "It's not like I'm going to pander or hide. I'm going to say what I think and if folks disagree, then they'll disagree. But I also don't think that'll be the only thing they vote on."
Here's the portion of the Christie interview that pertains to drugs, marijuana and Colorado.Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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