New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been a staunch opponent of cannabis reform for a long, long time. Anyone who has followed cannabis politics will be quick to tell you that. And Christie’s hate for cannabis reform is not just limited to adult-use legalization. New Jersey is home to one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the nation, and that’s exactly how Chris Christie likes it.
Chris Christie has done just about everything in his power to limit any expansions to New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, claiming that any expansions would lead to full legalization which he completely opposes. Per NJ.com in 2013 when Chris Christie was presented with a bill to expand New Jersey’s medical cannabis program:
Christie told reporters today he is “not open to it,” and believes it’s just a back door way to legalize marijuana for everyone.
“See this is what happens. Every time you sign one expansion, then the advocates will come back and ask for another one,” the governor said during a press conference from his statehouse office this afternoon. “Here’s what the advocates want: They want legalization of marijuana in New Jersey. It will not happen on my watch, ever. I am done expanding the medical marijuana program under any circumstances. So we’re done.”
Chris Christie also opposed expanding New Jersey’s program in 2016, specifically opposing a bill that would have let doctors recommend cannabis to women who suffer from dysmenorrhea. Chris Christie has referred to cannabis as ‘poison‘ and believes that cannabis is a gateway drug. An article in the Huffington Post sums up Chris Christie’s view on marijuana:
Christie, who is one of more than a dozen Republicans vying for the party’s presidential nomination, has made no secret of his opposition to cannabis. Although he said this week that he has “no problem” with medical marijuana when prescribed by a doctor, he has opposed even his own state’s limited medical marijuana program and has called similar laws in 22 other states a “front” for full recreational legalization. He has characterized taxes generated from the sale of marijuana as “blood money.” He threatened to veto a decriminalization measure in his home state.
In November Chris Christie sent a letter as the Chairman of the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to President Donald Trump, urging Trump to reject any efforts to acknowledge cannabis’ ability to help mitigate opioid abuse and dependency. Per the letter (via NORML):
“The Commission acknowledges that there is an active movement to promote the use of marijuana as an alternative medication for chronic pain and as a treatment for opioid addiction. … There is a lack of sophisticated outcome data on dose, potency, and abuse potential for marijuana. This mirrors the lack of data in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when opioid prescribing multiplied across health care settings and led to the current epidemic of abuse, misuse and addiction. The Commission urges that the same mistake is not made with the uninformed rush to put another drug legally on the market in the midst of an overdose epidemic.”
With all of that in mind, it was startling (to say the least) to read the following in an article posted today on NJ.com:
Todd Herremans, a former NFL offensive lineman who once played with the Eagles, said he took a “dark turn” while using pain medications to stay on the field. Herreman’s asked Christie about the viability of marijuana-based products as an alternative to opioids.
Christie said he had no problem with marijuana use regulated by doctors, which he began as governor. But he said he opposed marijuana for recreational use, as proposed by governor-elect Phil Murphy.
No problem with marijuana use regulated by doctors? No problem? Really? It’s beyond obvious that Chris Christie has a very big problem with marijuana use regulated by doctors, as history clearly shows. That’s why he has stated so many times that he would enforce federal law if he were ever elected president. He usually makes that claim in regards to adult-use legalization, but considering that federal law makes no distinction for medical versus adult-use cannabis, the result would be a crackdown on medical marijuana, even medical marijuana that is regulated by doctors.
This is not the first time that Chris Christie has acted like he is not opposed to doctor regulated marijuana use. He will break out that line every once in awhile depending on the audience he is speaking to. But the line is just empty rhetoric. When Chris Christie is talking in a different setting, especially one that surrounds him with other cannabis opponents, he makes it very clear where he stands on cannabis policy. Make no mistake – Chris Christie does not support any type of cannabis use, doctor regulated or otherwise.
Something else worth noting from today’s NJ.com article was what Dr. Sanjay Gupta said about Chris Christie. “He knows the government so he’s the best person to have in this war,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta said in regards to Chris Christie’s role in combating the opioid crisis. Considering Christie’s stance against even considering cannabis as part of the strategy to address the opioid crisis in the U.S., I am going to have to respectfully disagree with Dr. Gupta.