Last week we wrote about how New Jersey legislators had established a path to legalizing recreational marijuana, thanks to Democratic State Sen. Nicholas Scutari introducing a key measure to allow its sale and usage. Scutari had introduced a very similar bill last session and back in 2014 when Chris Christie was at the helm.
The differences between now and then? The New Jersey Senate is filled with a Democratic majority following recent elections and Phil Murphy, who campaigned in part on legalizing recreational marijuana, assumed the New Jersey gubernatorial role this week.
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Murphy’s predecessor needs no introduction but we’ll give him one anyway—Mr. Chris Christie, the Bridgegate disaster artist and fierce cannabis opponent. To commemorate Christie’s departure, let us recall the former governor’s five worst takes involving marijuana.
Colorado’s ‘Head Shops’—April 2014
Responding to a caller during his radio program asking about money created by marijuana legalization:
I don’t care about the tax money that may come from it. And I don’t care, quite frankly, that people think it’s inevitable. It’s not inevitable here. I’m not going to permit it — never — as long as I’m governor.
“You wanna elect somebody else who’s willing 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.”
Christie wasn’t finished. He later added:
“For the people who are enamored with the idea with the income, the tax revenue from this, go to Colorado and see if you want to live there,” he said. “See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado where there’s head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high. To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey, and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that.”
Marijuana ‘Crackdown’ As President—April 2015
As part of his presidential campaign, Christie sat down with Iowa conservative radio host where the topic of cannabis came up. Here’s the key exchange:
Hewitt: Right now, we’ve got the states of Colorado and Washington flaunting federal law by allowing people to sell dope legally. If you’re the President of the United States, are you going to enforce the federal drug laws in those states?
Christie: Absolutely. I will crack down and not permit it.
Hewitt: All right, next …
Christie: Marijuana is a gateway drug. We have an enormous addiction problem in this country. And 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.
Cannabis Industry’s ‘Blood Money’—Nov. 2016
Though Christie’s 2016 presidential bid was every bit of a disaster, he didn’t go quietly into that good night. Because thanks to Trump’s election, America had entered a national nightmare and Christie relished his role as the boogeyman.
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During his “Ask the Governor” radio program, a caller asked Christie about the tax revenue generated by recreational marijuana sales. The caller referenced other states like Washington, Oregon, and Colorado where that exact outcome occurred. Christie didn’t see it that way.
“Are you high right now?” Christie asked the caller. “To me, legalization of marijuana for tax purposes, and you can’t justify it any other way, is blood money.”
Cannabis Will ‘Lead To More Death’—Oct. 2017
Speaking in Indianapolis as part of America’s opioid commission, Christie said:
Marijuana legalization will lead to more drug use, not less drug use, will lead to more death not less death, and the national institute of drug abuse has proven it. There is no reason, if I told you today that anything would make your child two and a half time more likely to be addicted to opioids, you would be getting them as far away from it as you possibly could.
The ‘Crazy Liberals’ Who ‘Poison Our Kids’—Nov. 2017
In the moments leading up to New Jersey’s 2017 gubernatorial race, Christie attempted to use whatever influence he had left to sway the election. Knowing recreational marijuana was a major point in Murphy’s platform, he tried to color legalization supporters as “crazy liberals” who want to “poison our kids,” according to Politico.
“They want that blood money? Let them do it,” Christie said, repeating his favorite flashy phrase about cannabis tax revenue.