Chris Christie isn’t in the crowded 2016 GOP field just yet, but he’s already made it highly unlikely that he’ll find himself a faction of the Republican Party supportive of his candidacy should he decide to run. If Chris Christie does decide to join the pack of potential presidential candidates, he would be one of the few Republicans with executive experience who also happens to be from a blue state, the others being George Pataki of New York and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Yesterday, Chris Christie was on “Face the Nation” and made it absolutely clear that if he were president, he would go after states that allow legal, recreational marijuana.
The Republican governor, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said his administration would use federal rules that outlaw marijuana to clamp down on states that legalized recreational pot use.
“Yes sir,” Christie told host John Dickerson when asked whether he’d go after Colorado and Washington.
“If you were president would you return the federal prosecutions in the states of Colorado, Washington states?” Dickerson asked.
“Yes,” Christie said.
“So, if somebody’s enjoying that now in their state, if you’re president, that’s getting turned off?” Dickerson continued.
“Correct,” Christie responded. (Source)
Being against marijuana legalization and using federal powers to prosecute recreational users and growers in states like Colorado may play well to some evangelical Christians or old school social conservatives, but it absolutely will not fly with Rand Paul supporters and moderates. Younger voters of both parties tend to be far more open-minded about marijuana legalization and gay marriage, and hyping up old & outdated stances on these issues will deal a huge blow to any campaign on a national stage.
Chris Christie also isn’t going to impress anyone on the far right due to the fact that while he has done his part to bust unions (like Scott Walker has done with much success in Wisconsin), he also signed a law banning LGBT “conversion therapy,” which is a practice many supporters of Rick Santorum or Bobby Jindal support.
In the interest of fairness, it needs to be pointed out that New Jersey law does allow for medical marijuana use, but not for all conditions, including PTSD. However, Chris Christie not only stated his promise to use federal laws to clamp down on states like Colorado, he also pretty much said that he doesn’t care what the people there think about it.
Asked how this might affect his election prospects in Colorado, a key swing state in presidential elections, Christie didn’t budge.
“I think there’s probably a lot of people in Colorado who are not too thrilled with what’s going on there right now,” he said. “You know the way you win any state? You go out and you tell people the truth and you lay out your ideas. And you either win or you lose. But I don’t believe that people just want to be told what they want to hear. I believe they want to be told the truth as the person who’s running sees it.”
Speaking more broadly about drug addiction, Christie said that a president can use the bully pulpit to help “lower stigma” about seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
“Right now people, as I said before, see it as a moral failing,” he said. The president can carry a message of, “You’re not a failure, you’re sick and we want to help you get better, and we’re gonna, in this country, emphasize, for first time, that this is a disease and that we need to give people the treatment that they need to get better,” he added.
Christie also said, “We can no longer incarcerate our way out of this problem,” a nod to the growing movement to reform drug sentencing laws. (Source)
If Chris Christie sees recreational marijuana usage as a problem and wants to enforce current federal laws against it, yet at the same time says putting people in jail isn’t the way out of the problem, then exactly what does he suggest we do? Are we going to force people to go to rehab for simply smoking pot while millions of Americans struggle with addiction to legal drugs like alcohol and prescription pills, which are far more dangerous than marijuana?
It’s completely predictable that someone from the party that claims they want smaller government is, as usual, proposing government intrusion into a market that is providing millions of dollars of revenue to the states it is legal in. There are areas where we do need the government to intervene, but keeping adults from smoking a plant is definitely not one of them.
Chris Christie could have stated that he supported regulated use of marijuana or even decriminalization of recreational possession, and he could have staked out a spot as an experienced, moderate Republican governor from a blue state and differentiated himself from the crowd. He could have been a real candidate, he could have been a contender – but he blew it.
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