Governor Christie’s Marijuana Plan: Say One Thing, Do Another

During his second inaugural address, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had some harsh words for our War on Drugs:

“We will end the failed war on drugs that believes that incarceration is the cure of every ill caused by drug abuse,” Governor Christie stated, “We will make drug treatment available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can and we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands that every life has value and no life is disposable.”

While critiques of the War on Drugs are always welcomed (Governor Christie had previously made similar statements), it is hard to take his comments seriously when you consider his record regarding sensible reforms to New Jersey’s marijuana laws.

The same day he was calling for an end to this failed policy, two pieces of legislation that would have made pragmatic changes to New Jersey’s marijuana laws were sitting on his desk awaiting signature. The first would have allowed state farmers to receive licenses for industrial hemp cultivation as soon as the federal government changed the national policy on the issue. The other, Senate Bill 1220, would have ensured patients enrolled in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program would be able to receive organ transplants and not be disqualified because of their medicinal use of cannabis. You would think that a governor who just stood at a podium and lambasted our prohibition as a failed policy, would immediately leave the stage and eagerly sign these pieces of legislation.

He didn’t. These two important measures sat on his desk, unsigned and were ultimately doomed to failure by Governor Christie’s pocket veto.

In the previous few years, Governor Christie declared that he would veto any legislation decriminalizing marijuana that came to his desk and also fought against rational reforms to the state’s medical marijuana program tooth and nail. He eventually capitulated slightly on the latter, but not before watering down many proposed amendments to the state’s program.

We appreciate the Governor’s sentiment and welcome him in joining the overwhelming majority of Americans who think the War on Drugs has failed, but his statements are merely political bluster until his rhetoric is matched by his actions. While the ensuing years (and continual rise in public support) will only lead to more politicians, both aspiring and those currently in power, joining us in our call for a new approach to marijuana, we must be vigilante. Actions speak louder than words. If Governor Christie (and President Obama for that matter) want the rubber to meet the road between their statements and actual public policy, they will need to follow these flowery words with legitimate action.

39 thoughts

  1. I’m not sure if Gov. Christie will sign these bills or not, but eventually, with enough education and effort, we may be able to help Christie make the right choice. However, regarding the issue involving organ transplants, I haven’t seen any research on the topic but I am concerned that the THC might somehow affect the host body’s acceptance of the donor organ. Again, I don’t really know whether or not that’s true, or if any studies have been done.

  2. I saw the polls in Georgia and thought, “Hey, maybe Republicans have a chance…” And then I read this and heard a plane crash, “NEEEEeeeeeeerkBOOOOOSH!!!
    I mean, coming from a governor who shuts the GW bridge down for retribution then gets on the podium and basically says, “Yeah, that was wrong, we expected the retribution. But single handedly vetoing the hemp bill? That was the hamartia of the tragic hero whose hubris has spelled his own downfall.
    The question on everyone’s mind now is: how bout that marijuana scheduling president Obama? Have thee thy mortal valor or are you gonna pull a Christie and veto the will of the free world?

    Go Broncos! You are my personal marijuana superbowl commercial…

  3. Julian, as I pointed out previously, President Obama does not have the authority to reschedule marijuana. Only Congress and the ONDCP do. President Obama could appoint someone more marijuana friendly to the ONDCP, but the head of the ONDCP is prohibited from advocating for that type of thing (rescheduling, legalization, etc). It would basically have to be an act of Congress or a Supreme Court ruling, and the Supreme Court would not rule on marijuana’s scheduled status unless to affirm the government’s right to regulate it.

  4. Industrial Hemp? Really? Does this man not know the difference between hemp and marijuana? This is a man looking for power and he has said many times now he is not progressing marijuana reform anymore.

    I am not anti-republican but every local politician I have written to or called who is against marijuana reform is republican. Every politician in favor of at least medical marijuana is democrat.

    This is the only platform I am voting for so if you want my vote “I want safe legal access”.

    The nation is talking Chris Christie if you really are the voice of New Jersey you better listen.

    @Eric: Do you have any polls for New Jersey about what the people want?

  5. Christie is a Democrat light if u ask me. I’m from GA and would not vote for this guy. He can’t hold to a simple promise.

  6. Politicians like CHRISTIE are really the reason America is failing these days. I love it when elected officials are asked for their position on marijuana and they will claim that we just do not know that much about marijuana to make a decision at this time. If they do not know that much about pot then why are they classifying pot as a class one substance. Putting people in prison for using something they do not know much about. WHAT LEADERSHIP. CHRISTIE is a bully and his staff are a reflection of how his inner circle operates.

  7. Oh C’mon Chris, from what I see you got a huge
    case of the munchies, 50/50 odds your doing bong
    hits in the Governor mansion, stop being such a politicians
    and be real humanitarian.
    Thank You Norml for calling out these “leaders”
    With this blog we could rule the Earth ….

  8. @wseguy,
    Now, now; no reason to make fat jokes over governor Christie’s eating disorder… Oh! You meant cheeseburgers are worse than marijuana in GENeral… (Well obviously: just look at the man: he could shut down GW bridge just by WALKing on it…) Hey, did you see that? I just pulled a Christie… I criticized something and then did it anyway. Oh well, no votes for me:-(

  9. @anti-proh
    The article clearly states Christie pocket vetoed. Whether that means he can still save the bills with a fast move remains to be seen, and knowing this two-faced nut hes probably scrambling like Mr. Magoo while his polls plummet. Nothing he does now can help him save face now. Were not even sure he knows which face he has on.
    As for organs receiving the host from a weed smoking (or/and vaping) donor, cannabinoids can only help the process as they ease stress and are vital to organ function. (Assuming the person died right after inhaling THC and CBDs) Most of our organs store CB2 cannabinoids as a natural function of the endocannabinoid system. They increase nutritional absorbtion and stimulate hunger in the intestines, they increase respiratory efficiency in the lungs and are even found in the liver and endocrine system which means they may play a vital role in metabolizing and regulating the new organ into the host body. After all, that is what our endocannabinoid system is; an organ regulating network of cannabinoids that rather pleasantly achieves homeostasis by stimulating our organs to do their job.
    As upsetting as this marijuana-organ-veto is for people waiting on organs, im afraid that Jersey law enforcement is far too busy prioritizing drug lab work and confiscating drug evidence to properly manage the state’s health system, so until marijuana is outright legal I would be more concerned if the organs were harvested from a healthy or willing individual at all. Forget what you see on CSI. Most U.S. Counties dont even have a real coroner much less a qualified medical examiner. (See Frontline’s “The Real CSI”). Thanks to the drug war, cities like Sacramento spend %100 of their resources on forensic drug lab evidence, and so little (less than %10) on rapes and murders they dont know what evidence belongs to what cold case, or where they stashed the due process. (just makes you feel all cozy inside about Governor Cuomo’s plan to use seized evidence to supply marijuana to terminally ill patients in NY, doesnt it?)
    I mean, were talking about a state that busted some crazy crime ring where they found some Rabbis selling livers illegally harvested from unauthorized autopsies. I cant make this crap up; it’s New Jersey! Crime is in the water!
    Im afraid its going to take something more drastic to legalize Jersey and get the money and the mob out of politics, like an executive order from the President, or Christie chokin on a hotdog or something.
    As ive said before, its the hemp bill that matters more than anything else. Thats where the real money is at. And I suspect its not the defecting DEA or the Tony Sopranos in the governors ear as much as David Koch and the prohibitionist “think tanks” worried to hell about a domestic celulosic hemp industry ruining the value of their expiring petroleum based product patents. Focus on the hemp research amendment to the Farm Bill and watch the whole nation explode green.

  10. if the main push can put pressure on the president to decriminalize this at the federal level it wont matter what ignorant gov officials do. my only hope is the pres has nothing to lose and will do this before leaving office, but if not vote these sob’s out, the majority if us want it and they work for us. keep up the good/right fight norml…

  11. Folks, keep emailing your Congresspersons and tell them Barack sent you. I used these words:
    “The president has said that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol. That means that people are being penalized for drinking Chardonnay instead of Cabernet. Is this the land of the free where personal choice is cherished? No, this is taxation without representation.”

  12. thanks NORML. This guy is a dirtbag, another corrupt Jersey politician. 2016 will be an exciting election year. Thinning the ranks of republican (and democrat) cronyism, hopefully more people will vote GREEN PARTY and turn the Executive office on its head.

  13. I consider Christie to be a fat mean bully and will continue to see him as such until his deeds begin to match his words on this issue!

  14. @Erik-thanks for picking these two statements, they’re perfect for an easy point. I really don’t know what to think of this guy. How in the world did he get this far in politics being such a transparent two-faced liar.

    “We will end the failed war on drugs that believes that incarceration is the cure of every ill caused by drug abuse,”

    The war on drugs never said,”incarceration is the cure” for anything. Ranting while ignoring the truth of the Anslinger/Nixon agenda is unacceptable. Any politician talking like they have plausible deniability is an admitted liar.

    “We will make drug treatment available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can and we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands that every life has value and no life is disposable.”

    The “as we can” is a conditional backdoor escape clause while they look for a reason not to.

    This “we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands that every life has value and no life is disposable”, is just filler while he reads text message on his phone.

    Sorry, havent finished my coffee yet,…………

  15. When I look at Christie, I see dollar bills held in front of him by some powerful corporations. Corporations elect our leaders. We get to choose which corporate puppet, democrat or republican. Really doesn’t even matter if it were libertarian,because in order to get elected to be president, you have to get money from giant corporations. This is called campaign finance. It should be called “corporate campaign finance” to be accurate. It is funny how Christie made some bad moves and now he is the laughing stock. The fact that he will not sign a hemp bill is obviously corporate interest. He can lie about medical/recreational cannabis all he wants but when he will not sign the hemp bill, he stinks of greed. Every industrialized nation has hemp except the United States. Hemp is non-toxic and has over 25,000 uses. Christie smells like a corporate puppet and in my eyes, even though I am a libertarian, president Obama is gold in regards to Colorado and Washington! Even though his hands are tied by corporate interest. Can we all say, “Campaign finance reform is probably more important than the legalization of cannabis”. Regulating the government sounds like a good idea when the government clearly has no interest in what the people actually want! Ever heard of “Taxation without representation”. This is what Christie does! Shame! He also let a little girl die who had Dravet syndrome. This syndrome is a type of epilepsy in which children can suffer over 100 seizures per day which obviously prevents them from mentally developing and they eventually die. Christie stated, “he did not want his state to be like California, where edibles where allowed”. He said this, knowing it’s CBDs effects on Dravet syndrome. He also knew that CBD does not get the patient high at all. He eventually changed his mind due to parents relentlessly pleading with him in front of cameras but it was to late. He is a dirty snake and I will enjoy watching him smolder in the ashes of what is left of his career.

  16. The powers against Marijuana are entrenched and very strong, but the tide has turned and soon not even the politicians will be able to stop the will of the people. As agonizing as it may be for us to be patient, the future generations will thank us for our persistence!

  17. ‘Can we all say, “Campaign finance reform is probably more important than the legalization of cannabis”.’

    Well, it is more important than the illegalization of cannabis too. The failed program just needs to be retired. It is nothing but a method to teach police how to act like sociopaths. There are so many important issues like how Clinton and Bush neutered the FDA and turned it into a corporate sing-a-long. Obama has been working on fixing this, but 16 years of damage is not easy to fix. This is what he means when he says he will implement policies based on science and facts. This is why the FDA is starting to make noise about banning trans fats–they are starting to awaken from their stasis and performing their jobs of regulating food and drugs.

  18. Chris Christie is indeed trying very hard to stymie the medical marijuana program in New Jersey. Everyone that looks at it feel it is too “control freak” in nature and doesn’t serve its own goals because marijuana users face ridiculous regulations in New Jersey and each and everyone of these stupid ideas came from Chris Christie or someone in his cabinet. “Your statement suggests that Gov. Christie is purposely preventing treatment with the intent to harm children for no reason. This is the B.S.” Again, Christie is the one who failed this citizen and many others. He’s the one that told us he is a good leader and can make good decisions. That facts of the matter are, he is a piece of shit that cannot make good decisions, all he can do is act like a prick bully, which is what he excels at. He is busy talking shit instead of doing his job while people under his leadership are suffering and dying for no compelling reasons.

  19. @Steven Daniel, I dont know how to tell you this brother, but youre progressive. A progressive libertarian, if there is such a thing… But no worries: check out the web sites of Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Al Franken of Minnesota. These two are putting up a real grassroots fight against Citizens United to help get the money out of politics.

    @Natasha, the president is our cimmander and chief and lead executive officer. In 1970, Congress gave legislative authority to regulate marijuana to the Department of Justice, specifically the DEA, through the Controlled Substances Act. While I share your disbelief that an executive agency should have unconstitutional authority to legislate anything, im afraid thats the way we roll here in the good ol U.S. Of A. For more than 40 years now. Cops have been writing and lobbying our drug laws… Until now. (Thanks NORML).
    I would like to know where you maintain so much confidence of the President’s impotence on this matter?
    As for the Supreme Court, they are pro marijuana legalization as long as 25 states or more pass pro marijuana legislation. Until then no Justice will interfere with States rights until the majority are in conflict with Federal Law. This could very well happen this year, if not certainly by 2016. Whether the President reschedules or not, if the Supreme Court has to review the C.S.Act or the Marijuana Stamp Act of 1937 after mire than 25 states have psssed pro marijuana legislation, the money and the hemp will have already been set in motion to deny the constitutionality of these atrocious violations of our civil rights. Alaska is next. Arizona has bug bills to pay, clise behind. Colorado made bank without the banks and every defecit in the country is watching.
    Anyone need a marijuana investment firm? Theres one im Washington State with a defected top DEA agent as a hired consultant. (He says pay and benefits were a washout… Except for those marijuana stock options… People are cashing in on future weed stock before the bank lobby decorates with cannabis sativa ruderalis.
    So go ahead and accept your severence pay, Christie. Spend it all on law suits and retribution; we dont care. The rest of us are placing our stock elsewhere… In E Plurubus Cannabis Unum.

  20. If you live in New Jersey & feel that the war on drugs is a failure or want the decriminalization of marijuana you have to take the 10 minutes out of your life and email all the politicians in your state.Give them an honest story that they can understand.They will listen if large numbers of people take the time to contact them.New Jersey has a large roadblock [gov. Christie]that needs to be swayed.Please CONTACT YOUR POLITICIANS>

  21. Of all the injustices inflicted on Pot smokers, the rule about not being eligible for organ transplants is one of the worst. Does any hospital turn down an organ donation because the deceased tested positive for THC, of course not.

  22. Politicians are trained to say one thing while doing another. Just compare your legislators’ voting record to their verbal statements put out by their staffs. If politicians understand the voting power of patients and their support, maybe the healthcare professionals will step up and support patients’ rights over insurance limits.

  23. There is absolutely no reason THC should cause any sort of tissue rejection in transplant patients. Tissue rejection is mediated by our immune system recognizing the transplant as foreign. I’m a medical professional and just wanted to share as I saw some people speculating. I say let us physicians decide whether a patient is at risk due to any sort of medicinal treatment!

  24. Correction to my earlier post: The hemp bill has the most impact or “importance” to the overall legalization of cannabis. The denial of organ-doning for organs positive in THC is downright inhumane. Especially considering the kind of organ-fraud that goes on in that state. Sounds like some mob is hoarding the supply on both ends.

  25. Governor Christie stated, “We will make “drug treatment” available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can’

    Translation: We will make you pay for you’re fines, court cost, attorney fees and drug counselors . You will be put on probation, monitored and urine tested for months to years.

  26. Governor Christie, you have a very hard responsibility to God and the people. I pray you can and will respond to the medical marijuana as an individual of God first. The Lord wants what is best for humanity within his boundaries. I believe the lord would rather have me medicating with herbs rather that Tramadol a synthetic opiate which I have been taking daily to help reduce the pain I suffer from for over a year. I tried to quit the Tramadol and could not because of the addictive properties of opiates. I hate pills they represent some form of death, just read the side effects write up from the pharmacy. Now, my case is marijuana helps me not take deathly addictive pills. Please check your own motives and hear my motive. I have been saved by God since Feb 28 1979, I served as a full time missionary for twenty years. At this time I need marijuana for the pain I suffer. God gave us the herb for good and the world bought the lie that it was evil. Yes cocaine heroin, meth, these are death drugs also, but Marijuana (Cannabis) is gentle herbal medicine when used responsibly. I won’t go to the pharmacy to get it when I can grow it with my rosemary and tomatoes and cost no other person for my pain. Please let god direct your path not man. Yet all truth is from God and the truth is that Cannabis is much better for me than any other. I know, I have suffered chronic pain for eight years and it stinks, but god has made a medicine that works better. Please legalize my medicine and for millions. Please do not let politics distort your understanding, study to show yourself approved, serve the humanity that you care about. Give god all the glory it is his name that we care for and want to glorify. Knowledge, wisdom and understanding will set us free to be about gods plan the best we are able. I pray the lord to give you wisdom on how best to take care of the people for his glory. Do not let the pharmaceutical industry that prescribes death from a pill, win.
    Michael lr

  27. Don’t trust Christie. He’s ambitious and likes to throw his weight around. I would not want to see this archetype personality in the presidency. He’s just another prohibitionist with his mind made up.

  28. We plan on voting for candidates that are for legalization. Want to smoke again someday, my job keeps me from it. Finally, There is something we can follow and make happen in our local and national elections. Pray the green party wins. Would really love to chill out to some smoke, music, and creating a cool oil painting.

  29. HA! HA! Stupid Christie! The Hemp Research Amendment just passed the Farm Bill, and you just shot down the Hemp Bill in your state. How stupid do you feel now?
    Greg Abbot just announced he is against even medicinal marijuana in Texas, even after Perry suggested decriminalization. Wendy Davis has this governor race on lock down.
    And now with Florida? That’s more than half the U.S. population pro medicinal marijuana by the end of this year. God Bless America.

  30. He just said he does not want the quality of life in HIS state that Colorado has……too HEALTHY for YOU CHRISTIE???? And what about the quality of life in some of your major cities????
    And all the gambling and alcohol (casinos)… and illegal drugs all over your state…for YEARS! Oh please, what a stupid stupid man, who makes stupid remarks before researching anything. He will NEVER be president……

  31. one thing I do not get is when someone say we do not know enough about something to make it legal how do they know enough to make it illegal

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