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Christie Could Be Worse on Marijuana Than Jeff Sessions

The former Governor of New Jersey takes a tougher stance on marijuana than the previous Attorney General did and could be a foe for legalization advocates.

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By Max Bibeau | United States

On November 7, in the aftermath of an intense midterm election season, Americans could finally breathe a sigh of relief. And, as if this relief wasn’t enough, Trump decided to give America a little gift: Jeff Sessions’ resignation.

While many have been celebrating this news, it may still be a bit too soon. Trump is reportedly considering his longtime friend and fellow 2016 Presidential Candidate to replace Sessions – Governor Chris Christie.

Christie, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2016, did not have much success during the primaries and ended up endorsing President Trump after dropping out of the election in February. Christie has been repeatedly criticized for his long absences from his home state and for his “Bridgegate” scandal, which began as long ago as 2013.

Sessions is well known for his anti-drug stances, advocating for a resurgence in drug education such as in the 80s and 90s, stating that marijuana is “slightly less awful” than heroin, and that “using drugs will destroy your life.” Needless to say, Sessions adamantly opposes the legalization or even decriminalization of any currently illegal drug. He even reversed an Obama era policy in order to encourage federal law enforcement agents to crack down on marijuana use, even in legal states.

Christie, while almost 20 years younger than Sessions, seems to share his hyper-traditionalist mindset. Christie has repeatedly stated that marijuana should never be legalized for medicinal or recreational purposes, and has deemed any profits made from the legal marijuana industry “blood money.” He made it clear back in 2015 that he would never put the “lives of children and citizens at risk to put a little more money into the state coffers,” which might be a noble sentiment if marijuana had caused even a single overdose death in the last year. 

Sessions and Christie both share a similar anti-drug sentiment. But given a few past statements, it’s very possible that Christie may take a more direct approach to opposing marijuana legalization, even in states that have already legalized the drug for medicinal or recreational purposes.

In 2015, Christie was asked whether or not he would enforce federal drug laws. His response was “absolutely. I will crack down and not permit it.” He went on immediately to say that “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.”

While Sessions was more bark than bite, only implementing one or two federal changes to marijuana policy, Christie seems like he will plan to take a much more aggressive route, actively stopping businesses and farms from supplying their product. If Christie follows through on his word, direct conflict between federal law enforcement and marijuana institutions could be likely in the future.

So, while many considered Sessions the worst possible Attorney General for drug legalization, none should celebrate his resignation yet – his replacement could be far worse.


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