TRENTON, NEW JERSEY – Residents in U.S. states that have legalized marijuana should toke up while they still can, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.
“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie, a Republican campaigning for the 2016 presidential nomination, said Tuesday during a town hall meeting at the Salt Hill Pub in Newport, New Hampshire. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
At a time when a majority of Americans say recreational pot use should be legal, and four states have already made it so, Christie remains opposed. The former federal prosecutor said Democratic President Barack Obama has selectively chosen which laws to enforce.
Christie is trying to pump up his candidacy ahead of the first Republican debate on Aug. 6 by talking to voters in New Hampshire, the state with the first primary. Fox News, the debate sponsor, plans to winnow the party’s field of 16 candidates down to 10 using an average of five national polls. The RealClearPolitics polling average currently has Christie in ninth place.
The governor said he believes marijuana alters the brain and serves as a so-called gateway to the use of harder drugs. Pointing to his own administration of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program that he opposes, he said elected officials can’t unilaterally choose which statutes to enforce.
“That’s lawlessness,” he said. “If you want to change the marijuana laws, go ahead and change the national marijuana laws.”
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