Trump has been a highly controversial figure during this 2016 election. His continuous racist and misogynist comments and policies have been a source of shocking media headlines during his entire campaign. Now another concern presents itself, though this time in the realm of marijuana prohibition. While Trump himself has not been passionate one way or the other about the issue and has even been quoted as saying it should be up to the states, it is also speculated by the Huffington Post that he will be making Gov. Chris Christie, one of the loudest anti-marijuana voices in the country, the attorney general of the United States. With Christie in such a key position, it would be impossible to not feel his prohibitionist influence under a Trump presidency.
Christie’s History with Marijuana Prohibition
Christie is well known for being against marijuana legalization. While he was running for president, he told Colorado residents to enjoy their marijuana while they can because as soon as he was in power he’d be making sure federal law is enforced against states that have legalized it. In his own state of New Jersey, he has vowed to never let recreational marijuana pass while he is in office. Just before he took office, Sen. Scutari initiated the law to allow medical marijuana to be legalized and Gov. Jon Corzine signed it. Christie has made his passion for marijuana prohibition clear and he told Scutari that he wouldn’t have signed the law if given the chance. He set about applying as many restrictions as he could to the law.
Ari Rosmarin, who is the public policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, said, “Everybody thought the state passed a good law until Gov. Christie got his hands on it. Many patients have abandoned the medicinal system and gone back to the illegal market to get the medicine they need.”
The “Blood Money” Perspective
A study by New Jersey Policy Perspective was released in May that indicated that legalizing recreational marijuana and taxing it at 25 percent would produce $300 million in annual tax revenue. Christie calls money made through recreational marijuana “blood money”. The “blood money” would be spent on early childhood education, property tax rebates for seniors and other programs that would go to help the people of New Jersey. Coincidentally, these are all programs that Christie vetoed, cutting them out of the budget on June 30th. Rosamin said, “We are dealing with an enormous budget deficit where our bridges and roads are falling apart. That is money that our state needs. Yet that’s so-called blood money that he is happy to see the illegal market take in.”
PTSD as a Qualifying Condition in New Jersey
Now a new decision regarding medical marijuana is in Christie’s hands. A bill allowing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to be added to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana treatment passed the Senate on Monday. All that is needed is for Christie to sign it. Sen. Vince Mazzeo said, “Veterans – especially post-9/11 veterans – are the group most affected by PTSD. The VA has stated that it wants each veteran to find the medication with the least amount of side effects that allows them the optimum level of independence. For many, medical marijuana is the drug that best fits that criteria.”
There is no word yet on whether Gov. Christie will sign this bill. While his history has prospective patients sweating for obvious reasons, Christie did sign off on bills that allowed medicinal use of marijuana as treatment for very ill children, so there is still a shred of hope.