I guess we can’t blame Gov. Christie for trying to be heard above the din created by an even mouthier candidate, but does he really think opposing marijuana legalization is his ticket, or even one of them?
Apparently he does.
“Marijuana is against the law in the states and it should be enforced in all 50 states,” the New Jersey governor said on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning. “That’s the law and the Christie administration will support it.”
But, really, what makes me shake my head is that this guy can’t turn off his inner bully. Consider this comment:
“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie warned. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
He sounds like a faculty detention monitor in a John Hughes films. “Did I say something funny young man? One more word out of you and we’ll be spending a lot more time together.”
It’s interesting that even the majority of young Republicans believe recreational marijuana should be legalized, though Christie says we can’t worry about what every poll says. One Politico story cites a radio interview he gave back in April in which he called marijuana a “gateway drug” adding that America has an enormous addiction problem and we need clear leadership from the White House in this.
Here’s another cultural reference. Christie sounds like Sargeant Joe Friday lecturing a zonked out, painted up kid on an old episode of Dragnet. What year is this?
A few months ago President Obama said that if enough states reform their marijuana laws, Congress may change federal law that continues to make the drug illegal, stating also that “We may be able to make some progress in the decriminalization side.”
Christie’s move is clearly intended to criticize the President for not enforcing the federal law as it stands though in many jurisdictions the trend is towards decriminalization.
But if you really want a good reason to decriminalize the stuff, here’s one.
According to a recent study from the American Civil Liberties Union, blacks were nearly four times as likely than whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession in 2010, even though usage was about the same for both groups. In Washington, D.C., Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, blacks were 7.5 to 8.5 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing pot.
The United States is home to just 5 percent of the world’s population, but a full 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. The harsh and lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug crimes have helped bolster that figure. In 1980, there were roughly 40,000 drug offenders in U.S. prisons, according to the Sentencing Project, a prison reform group. By 2011, the number of drug offenders serving prison sentences had ballooned to more than 500,000 — most low-level operators with no prior criminal records.
Times they are a changin’ though Governor Christie still thinks he can get political mileage out of older attitudes. When I think about this, I first think how much Republicans hate government unless it’s about forcing people to embrace conservative values. And then I think about who these laws hurt the most.
Still, I don’t see this election as being one in which people are going to be thinking a lot about drug use. Any other brilliant ideas, Governor?