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On Marijuana, Chris Christie Remains the Odd Man Out at Presidential Debate

During this week’s Republican presidential debate, three of four candidates who addressed marijuana legalization — Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, and Carly Fiorina — agreed that the issue should be left for the states to decide. The outlier, as usual, was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has promised that if he is elected president he will vigorously enforce the federal ban on marijuana in states that have legalized the drug.

Perhaps cognizant of the fact that most Americans support legalization and that most Republicans support a federalist approach to the issue, Christie tried to soften his hardline stance by claiming “I’m not against medical marijuana.” But as Scott Shackford noted last night, Christie opposed his state’s medical marijuana law (which was signed by his predecessor), dragged his feet in implementing it, and vetoed legislation designed to ease access for patients younger than 18. As recently as June 2014, Christie called medical marijuana programs “a front for legalization.”

Furthermore, as Rand Paul pointed out during the debate, Christie as president would override the medical marijuana law he now claims to support as governor. Federal law makes no distinction between medical and recreational use, and Christie has said he would enforce federal law. [Read more at the Reason blog]

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