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Chris Christie promises crackdown on legal marijuana as president

By Oscar Pascual |

If elected president, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would like to take America back to the dark days of full-on marijuana prohibition.

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 if he would enforce federal drug laws in the legal marijuana states of Colorado and Washington.

“Absolutely,” Christie told Hewitt. “I will crack down and not permit it.”

While the answer was enough for Hewitt, who was ready to move on to a new question, Christie took more time to recite some cliche Reefer Madness talking points in an effort to really drive the point across.

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

Christie’s latest remarks aren’t new – he’s held this anti-legalization stance for quite some time now.

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

Christie’s bull-headed stance spurred New Jersey’s Wilson family to uproot their residence to treat their daughter’s seizures with legal cannabis oil in Colorado, which was documented in the CNN special “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness.”

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

While his hardline stance would seem to be a perfect fit for the Republican Party, even the most credible competing presidential GOP hopefuls don’t share such harsh views on pot. Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz voiced his support for states’ rights to vote on legal marijuana despite being against legalization, while fellow GOP candidate Rand Paul is actually addressing marijuana reform as part of his main campaign platform, including reducing pot-related prison offenses and supporting industrial hemp production.

Even if Christie did rise as a top tier GOP presidential candidate, he still has to win over the entire voting public, who now supports legalization by 53 percent, according to Pew Research. He’d even risk winning the Republican youth vote, which supports legalization by 63 percent.

All signs point to bad portents for Christie, according to Marijuana Majority chairman and legalization advocate Tom Angell.

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

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

Photo credit: Flickr.com/gageskidmore