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Chris Christie on Marijuana: 'States Have the Right to Do What They Want'

If they've lost Christie, prohibitionists have lost the GOP.

The cause of federal marijuana prohibition has lost one of its greatest champions.

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and a longtime, outspoken opponent of marijuana legalization, appears to have endorsed the idea that states should be free to set their own policies for weed. In a video posted Monday at Marijuana Moment, a pro-legalization site that covers pot policy developments, Christie can be heard saying that "states have the right to do what they want to do on this," in response to a question about marijuana.

That's a lukewarm endorsement but a major shift for the former federal prosecutor, who promised during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries that he would, if elected, swiftly crack-down on states that had legalized weed in contradiction to federal law.

"If you're getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it," Christie told a New Hampshire crowd in July 2015. A day later, during an appearance on Fox News, Christie said "marijuana is against the law in the states and it should be enforced in all 50 states."

Christie's track record on marijuana also includes claiming that legalization advocates seek to "poison children" in pursuit of "blood money"; vetoing bills that would have given sick children access to medical marijuana; and making illogical arguments straight out of your elementary D.A.R.E program about pot being a "gateway drug."

His apparent change of heart was captured on video while Christie was answering questions at Politicon on Saturday. In the video, Christie is queried by Kyle Kulinski, a YouTube personality, who first asks the former governor to comment on studies showing that states with legal marijuana have lower opioid abuse rates.

After dismissing those studies and disagreeing with the notion that legal weed can help some opioid addicts—spoiler alert: it can—Christie finally conceded that, yes, maybe states should be allowed to do as they please with weed, even though he was quick to add that "broad legalization of marijuana won't, in my view, alleviate or even minimize the opioid crisis."

Christie's opinion doesn't mean much now that he has been soundly defeated in his quest to be president, left the governor's office, and been shunned by the Trump administration—though in his role as head of the administration's opioid crisis committee, he does have some small influence here.

Don't expect Christie to be campaigning for full-fledged marijuana legalization any time soon, but his tepid endorsement of federalism is another blow to the cause of prohibition, which is more unpopular now than it has ever been. A Gallup poll released Monday shows two-thirds of Americans favor legalization, with only 32 percent opposed.

Whether Christie is waking up and smelling the cannabis, or simply started paying attention to poll numbers, makes little difference. Welcome to the party, big guy.

Photo Credit: Jim Ruymen/UPI/Newscom

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  • Eddy||

    So Christie finally, ah, weighed in on the issue?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You know what convinced him, right? He found out about edibles.

  • DenverJ||

    Nice!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He tipped the scale toward legalization?

  • Hugh Akston||

    "states have the right to do what they want to do on this," can also be read as "states have the right to fill their prisons with pot smokers and bring the boot down hard on little girls who use cannabis derivatives to treat epilepsy."

  • Eddy||

    He's a lagging indicator, so if even he is talking about federalism it means that the rest of the country is going to be getting ahead of him.

  • Eddy||

    (Insert remark about the only time other Americans *don't* get ahead of Chris Christie is in the buffet line, or some such joke)

  • Hugh Akston||

    There are definitely some people who get in ahead of Christie.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I mean it's not out of the realm of possibility that Christie is trying to maintain political relevance by having a post-power drug war conversion like so many before him. He's nothing if not a shameless fame whore.

    I'm just saying his statement is vague enough to be read a number of ways.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I believe it used to be part of the Reason Drinking Game every time a former such-and-such had a "post drug war conversation".

  • Eddy||

    Strictly enforced, Reason's drinking games would float an aircraft carrier.

  • Just Say'n||

    I'm still waiting for the new cosmo God, Bill Weld, to have a conversion on bellicose foreign policy. But, then I'm reminded that the woke set only cares about pot.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I knew you were gonna somehow make this about Bill Weld.

  • Hugh Akston||

    He's like a piano with 87 missing keys.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This is what conservatism is... they change once massive public opinion leans one way. Unlike Lefties who force their agenda on America without convincing the majority that their cause is the correct path.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Revolutionary Vanguard

  • Cynical Asshole||

  • ||

    After dismissing those studies and disagreeing with the notion that legal weed can help some opioid addicts—spoiler alert: it can—Christie finally conceded that, yes, maybe states should be allowed to do as they please with weed, even though he was quick to add that "broad legalization of marijuana won't, in my view, alleviate or even minimize the opioid crisis."

    Which he almost certainly isn't wrong on. I mean, let's be reasonable (*drink*). Marijuana is as legal as it's ever been in this country and the opioid crisis has only risen with it. I don't disagree that marijuana could help and shouldn't be illegal, but the notion of legalizing marijuana to help the opioid crisis is disingenuous.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "...the notion of legalizing marijuana to help the opioid crisis is disingenuous."

    Stressed-out people want to get a buzz. It's like squeezing a balloon... Push it in here, and it pops out over there. Basic economics... If beef is expensive, I buy chicken instead, and vice versa. If I can't get a buzz on booze, I get it on pot instead, and vice versa. A buzz is a buzz, aside from personal preferences. Pot is a painkiller for some people (think cancer) just as opioids are. People go for the cheaper buzz, and the one that doesn't entice the thugs to kick their doors down in the middle of the night. It's that simple. More pot, less smack!

  • buybuydandavis||

    If you've got a pain problem, pot may take care of it and keep you from moving to opioids.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Opiate abuse isn't going to be helped by marijuana. Marijuana is pretty innocuous, as mind altering substances go, but let's not kid ourselves.

  • Mark of the Beach||

    There's no evidence pot cures opioid addiction, this is the strawman prohibitionists love to invoke. However, plenty of evidence that the opioid fatality rate has hit harder and faster in states that did not permit medicai marijuana. People are still overdosing in pot legal states, but at a less increasing rate. It's worth finding out why. Invisible hand in the black/gray markets? A placebo effect that makes people think pot can supplement or totally replace opiates? Maybe it actually does do something pharmacologically to reduce the fatality rate, even if by just a little. While legalized medical marijuana is not a miracle cure, prohibition is still a total failure and evidently the more deadly of the two options.

  • Eddy||

    "Chris Christie on Marijuana"

    Oh, I think I see what you did there.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Given the potential for appetite stimulation, Gov. Christie may be an individual to whom cabana is truly dangerous.

  • Robert||

    I think he'd be truly dangerous to a cabana. Like the Tor Johnson character in Ed Wood

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I meant to say cannabis, but I suppose it works both ways.

    Still, I would hate to be any of the children in an orpanarium trapped with a toked up Christie who hasn't recently fed.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    'States Have the Right to Do What They Want'

    Whatever you do, don't say that in regards to abortion. Because oh lordy...

  • Sarah Palin's Buttplug||

    Conservatives are for states rights except when those icky secularists want liberty.

    And other times too.

  • Just Say'n||

    Your comment makes no sense. Nice try, though

  • loveconstitution1789||

    States rights except when those state's rights go against lefty agendas.

  • Rockabilly||

    It would be incredible if Trump, at the very least, re-scheduled marijuana . Something that the stoner Bark Obama, said he couldn't do, but bro AG Eric said it was 'cool' for the Executive Branch.

    Would progressives be against it because sTrUmpH #ReSitOnMyFace (or what ever the wording in now at alterNet) ?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I suspect, much like "ending Saudi Arms Sales" the press would swing between arguments depending on who's making them.

  • Eddy||

    Let's see...

    TRUMP UNDERMINES RULE OF LAW IN CYNICAL BID FOR STONER SUPPORT

    "TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE," CRITICS SAY

    DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS GO CRITICALLY UNDERFUNDED

    HAROLD AND KUMAR SAY THEY'RE STILL VOTING DEMOCRAT, NOT FOOLED BY TRUMP

  • Eddy||

    That was too easy.

    Frighteningly easy.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yes, those h as,ones almost write themselves, don't they?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    'Headlines'

  • BigT||

    Christie: "I came for the munchies, and stayed for the buzz."

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Is there someone out there who still cares about what Chris Christie thinks?

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Yeah I was wondering what the point is here. Eric is telling us something we already knew, Christie is a giant asshole. It's a crime against humanity and mother earth that this steaming turd breaths our air. I don't give a shit what noxious flatulence comes out of his mouth.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We always think the same thing about chemjeff.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...Christie can be heard saying that "states have the right to do what they want to do on this," in response to a question about marijuana.

    Individual people, on the other hand...

  • DenverJ||

    You know who else was an asshole?

  • Eddy||

    Wow, that narrows it down...

  • DenverJ||

    I may be getting a little lazy with those ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Eddy||

    Tamerlane?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    All deuterostomes?

  • Eddy||

    Speaking of Christie, someone told me a key to identifying the killer in an Agatha Christie murder mystery.

    (spoiler alert)
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Check for the guy with a criminal or insane relative, that guy (or gal) is probably the culprit. Christie seemed to believe in eugenicist concepts of hereditary criminality.

  • Eddy||

    While we're at it, here's an easy shortcut you can use in a Sherlock Holmes mystery:
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Find the guy or gal who's been in the U. S. or Australia. That person is hiding an Important Secret.

  • Robert||

    But if it's an A.C. Doyle mystery w/o Holmes, it's somebody who's been in Central America. Well, at least in "The Lost Special", from which the TV show Lost got its name & much of its plot.

  • Robert||

    Does cannabis stand to significantly reduce the amount of opiates demanded for pain relief? That could be important during this time of crackdown on painkiller prescribing.

  • Sevo||

    Robert|10.22.18 @ 9:29PM|#
    "Does cannabis stand to significantly reduce the amount of opiates demanded for pain relief? That could be important during this time of crackdown on painkiller prescribing."

    Pretty sure this is not yet determined, since the fed-gov outlawed cannabis research; it was a Sched 1 drug.
    As a result, we also have no real idea what smoking dope does to lungs, circulatory system, etc.
    We can thank the Fed Gov that a 'relaxant' used by a good portion of the population has no reliably reported health effects.

  • IceTrey||

    Mind
    Your
    Own
    Business

  • guri678||

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  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Former Gov. Christie is belatedly acknowledging that conservatives have deservedly lost another battle in the culture war. The leashing of drug warriors is another victory for liberty, modernity, tolerance, another setback for authoritarian, prudish, stale thinking..

    Some clingers will continue to push their prohibitionist ways, particularly in America's backwaters, but as is customary our liberal-libertarian alliance will continue to make America great despite the paltry aspirations of conservatives.

  • Eddy||

    So much or those reactionary conservative Presidents who signed the Harrison Act in 1914 and the Marihuana Tax Act c. 1934!

  • buybuydandavis||

    "If they've lost Christie, prohibitionists have lost the GOP."

    This Libertarian Moment, brought to you by Trump's GOP and the Deplorables who made it happen.

    You're welcome.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    "States have a right to do what they want."

    Not when it violates the constitution. Just imagine if a state wanted to reinstate slavery, for example.

    Show me where the constitution authorized the war on drugs in the first place. The WOD should have been treated as if it had one more "O" and gone straight into the chipper.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    States have a right to do what they want?

    No - it is individuals who have a right to do what they want.

    State and local governments have repeatedly demonstrated that they can be just as oppressive and intrusive (or even more so) than the federal government in bossing people around.

  • Shirley Knott||

    ^This
    States have no rights, only power and "authority."
    Governments have no rights, only power and "authority."
    Only individual persons have rights.

    Tragic that this needs to be explicitly laid out on what purports to be a libertarian blog.
    Equally sad that it took this long for the point to be raised.

  • Mark of the Beach||

    Scalia loved to utter the phrase "Supremacy Clause" when he preferred a federal law that wasn't pursuant to any Article, Clause or Amendment. Kennedy joined him in invoking Wickard v. Filburn in Gonzalez v. Raich, 2005. Christie just recognizes that their replacements Gorsuch and Kavanaugh won't be relying on Wickard in their decisions, nor defending the government's assaults on the 9th & 10th amendments.

  • ducksalad||

    Unless he said more, you are giving him to much credit.

    What I think he meant was "It doesn't matter what states do, because marijuana possession is a FEDERAL crime and only the feds can be trusted to punish users harshly enough"

  • ducksalad||

    Unless he said more, you are giving him too much credit.

    What I think he meant was "It doesn't matter what states do, because marijuana possession is a FEDERAL crime and only the feds can be trusted to punish users harshly enough"

  • cheapmcmbelt||

    I agree!!! You can discuss with other side. That's how you learn and expand your view points. http://www.mkoutletfire.com/mi.....-gold.html

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