Christie’s Lunch with Trump Fuels Appointment Speculation

“If Jeff Sessions as Attorney General sent a chill down the spines of marijuana legalization supporters, then the mere possibility of Chris Christie as Drug Czar should put us all into cardiac arrest,” said Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director.

During the 2016 GOP Presidential Primary, then-candidate Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey made no bones about his fierce opposition to cannabis decriminalization and his desire to see a federal crackdown on legal states, telling the crowd at a New Hampshire town hall meeting, “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it: as of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.” Now the Garden State governor’s recent meeting with President Trump to discuss drug policy is fueling speculation that Christie could be the next drug czar — a potentially lethal proposition for the cannabis industry.


President Donald Trump met with anti-pot New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to discuss the nation’s drug policy Tuesday. And the meeting, which comes only weeks after the confirmation of an attorney general who has supported the death penalty for folks trafficking cannabis, could mean terrifying possibilities for those of us over here on Weed Island.

According to a report by NorthJersey.com, the subject of the conversation was combating drug use, causing speculation of Christie’s potential appointment as the nation’s drug czar.

“If Jeff Sessions as attorney general sent a chill down the spines of marijuana legalization supporters, then the mere possibility of Chris Christie as drug czar should put us all into cardiac arrest,” said Erik Altieri, NORML executive director. “During his presidential campaign, Christie warned Colorado residents that if he became president he would use his power to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have legalized its use and just last year referred to the tax revenue raised from legal marijuana sales as blood money.”

Altieri, originally from New Jersey, has had plenty of time to analyze Christie’s approach to cannabis.

“Chris Christie is clearly inflicted with what may be a terminal case of Reefer Madness and it is best he is kept far, far away from our nation’s drug control policy,” he said.

Other New Jersey activists like Evan Nison, executive director of NORML’s state affiliate and cannabis PR Firm NisonCo, believe Christie may have soiled his reputation too much to even be considered for this position judging from the reaction his name got when it was associated with the attorney general post

“I was concerned about Chris Christie becoming AG, but I think since Trump was smart enough to avoid bring in a scandle-ridden governor with record low approval ratings into his administration when he was making his pick for AG,” said Nison. “He will be smart enough to avoid him again for this appointment. Chris Christie would love this job, I’m sure, but it would add additional unnecessary PR issues for the administration.”

While the cannabis boat has yet to hit stormy waters despite Jefferson Sessions being appointed attorney general, some fear the addition of Christie to the administration could and would see a reversal of Trump’s state’s rights references that have held up so far.

“Christie has already done enough to prevent progressive marijuana policies from moving forward in New Jersey. Him going to the White House would be a really bad sign for the nation as a whole,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “While President Trump clearly pledged to respect state legalization laws, having Christie regularly in his ear on the issue could influence an unfortunate switch in positions.”

The medical cannabis program Angell is referencing easily ranks among the worst in the country with many road blocks over the years provided by Christie as true zealot governor. In his 2016 book “The Medical Marijuana Guidebook: America’s First How-to Guide for Patients and Caregiver” San Francisco Chronicle Cannabis Editor David Downs ranked the difficulty of gaining access to medical cannabis in New Jersey as extremely difficult.

TELL US, are you worried that Chris Christie will crack down on cannabis if appointed drug czar?

Jimi Devine has been involved in cannabis reform since 2005 and has worked in the Berkeley cannabis industry since 2009 when he moved to California from Lynn, Massachusetts. Currently serving as Staff Writer here at Cannabis Now, you can also find his writings on cannabis products and policy in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Hill, The Chronicle of High Education, GreenState.com, Marijuana.com, 7x7 Magazine, and in Ed Rosenthal's most recent book This Bud's for You. Jimi has a BA in Journalism and Media Studies from Franklin Pierce University.

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