|As CA Considers MJ Laws, Paul Calls Out Christie|
Posted by CN Staff on September 17, 2015 at 05:46:46 PT|
By David Weigel
Source: Washington Post
Simi Valley, Calif. -- The 15 leading Republican candidates for president have arrived in California just as the state closes in on a fully legal regime for medical marijuana.
Californians have been buying marijuana with medical exception cards since it was legalized by a 1996 ballot measure, but only this month has the state's Democratic legislature passed comprehensive bills to regulate the industry. The state's Department of Food and Agriculture would oversee cultivation; the Department of Public Health would monitor quality. Come Election Day 2016, it's highly likely that Californians will vote on whether to legalize the drug, full stop.
The survival of that experiment could depend on who gets elected president that day. Earlier this month, in New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) told an audience that current experiments with legal marijuana were encouraging "lawlessness," and needed to end.
"Marijuanaís illegal in the United States, yet the president allows Colorado and Washington state: Hey, get high! Itís okay! Iíll look the other way!" said Christie. "I wonít change the law, but Iíll look the other way."
A Christie administration would sprint in the other direction. As he described a friend's descent into opiate addiction -- a story he often tells to talk about New Jersey's treatment programs -- Christie said that his DEA would raid the legal pot industry in the West. "Seize their money," he said. "Seize their product. Close their stores."
In an interview here, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) -- Christie's most ready critic in the GOP field -- said that Christie's idea of raiding currently legal businesses puts him "on the wrong side of history," and wasn't even workable.
"If he wants to put the parents of a kid who had 500 seizures a day away before he started moderating that with cannabinoid oil, he can say so," said Paul. "He can put someone with MS in jail. He can put someone who's just carrying a little marijuana in jail. Most Americans are not with him, and it's not going to sit well with a lot of conservatives and libertarians, I mean, is he going to send federal troops in to enforce medical marijuana laws?"
Marijuana's legal status, once dismissed as a fringe issue, has evolved after a series of quiet decisions from the Obama administration. The west's experiment with legalization -- so far, a major boost to Colorado's tax revenue -- has been treated with benign neglect. Just three months ago, the administration lifted a public health review requirement that had prevented some research into marijuana's medicinal properties. A new president could reverse all of that with a pen stroke. Only two potential presidents have said much about it.
Source: Washington Post (DC)
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