"I think it's a mistake by the Attorney General, candidly," New Jersey Gov. Christie said at a press conference on Aug. 29 (see clip below) when asked his opinion about the Department of Justice's decision to allow marijuana legalization to proceed in Colorado and Washington, as decided by the voters in those states in November. "It's his (Eric Holder's) call, he gets to be the Attorney General."
Then Christie really put his foot in his mouth. "First of all, there's no such thing as medical marijuana, it's just marijuana - ok? - it's not different," he lectured erroneously. "The fact is we've made the decision to permit that in the state purely for medical purposes. Now Colorado and Washington State want to expand that for recreational purposes. That's a de facto legalization of marijuana. That's something that the federal government should decide whether it's legal in this country or not, not the Attorney General. That's to be decided by the Congress and President. So I think it's a mistake for him to turn his back on that and essentially, by fiat, legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington. I think it's a mistake and it's certainly not something I'll ever permit here as long as I'm governor… We're not going to have recreational pot in New Jersey, not as long as I'm governor."
Medical marijuana was legalized by the New Jersey legislature in 2009 and signed into law by outgoing Gov. John Corzine in 2010. Christie opposed the the law, whcih requires there be six stores throughout the state, and did his best to stall its implementation. In December 2012, Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair was the first to open, followed by Compassion Care Foundation in Egg Harbor in October and Garden State Dispenary in Woodridge in December.
Christe begrudgingly signed legislation in September that amended the state's medical marijuana programs to allow children to ingest edibles (but not adults) and more then three strains to be available at one time in stores.
The Governor insists he didn't sabotage the state's slow-moving and restrictive medical marijuana program. “Believe me if I wanted to sabotage the plan I know how to sabotage things," he stated in March. "When I want to sabotage something I just pull all the funding from it.”
Reiterating his contention that non-patients routinely receive marijuana legally in states like California and Colorado, Christie commented: "I do not want people flying to New Jersey, getting off a plane, going to some fake doctor, saying they have a headache and going and picking up pot which is what goes on in Denver, Colorado every day… You look at what's going on across the country with these medical marijuana programs - they've become essentially the legalization of marijuana. Not gonna happen here."