New Jersey's Chris Christie dreams a dream of legal weed, minus the weed

New Jersey's Chris Christie dreams a dream of legal weed, minus the weed

VicesOctober 29, 2013

Chris Christie's medical marijuana system in New Jersey is, in short, a swirling vortex of fuckery. Full of contradictory legislation and backwards procedures, it's the only medical marijuana program in the country that, well, totally forgot the about the marijuana part. It's almost like Christie was stoned on that half-legal weed when he came up with this shit.  We show you 7 reasons why Christie's weed policies are more fucked up than a kid from the Octomom's brood.

#1 "Pot for Tots"

"Pot for Tots" is the latest innovation New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's conjured up in what's thus far been a successful one-man mission to merge marijuana legalization with surrealism. Think Salvador Dali ruling the roost as Governor of The Sopranos State and you get the idea. On the surface, it would appear that the Governor 's recent decision to allow sick kids to use medical marijuana actually shows that he cares about their fate— albeit minors qualifying for NJ MMJ requires getting two, and in some cases three, recommendations from doctors in a state which just happens to allow the fewest qualifying diseases. Yeah, it’s not so easy for kiddos to get their fix. Under the surface, you have to wonder how many kids will actually benefit from said largesse since all the weed the state's sold so far to adults in the four years MMJ's been legal could fit into a coffee can. Literally.

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#2 Three strain limit

Christie had the ingenious idea of limiting the amount of strains any dispensary could grow and sell to three — as if a limitation like that somehow lessens the demonic aspects of firing up. Imagine trying to eliminate alcoholism by restricting liquor sales to Jack Daniels, Budweiser, and Jägermeister exclusively ... and you begin to see the supreme weirdness of his policies.

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#3 The people who make the policies have weird ulterior agendas

Chris Christie has friends in high places to help him keep coming up with ever more wacky variations on pot policy. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, NJ's MMJ program is "bogged down by a multiplicity of regulations that are micro-managed and almost hand-crafted by Christie and his chief counsel, Kevin O’Dowd — whose wife Mary O’Dowd also happens to be the current Commissioner of the NJ Department of Health." Would it surprise you to learn that the Department of Health reigns over what there is of NJ's nascent MMJ industry? We didn't think so.

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#4 He refuses to see marijuana as a potential source of tax revenue

Despite constantly crying poverty, Chris Christie has done everything in his power throw a wet blanket over cannabis commerce and its proven ability to raise desperately needed tax revenue in cities which nurture it like Denver. But Christie has a plan to raise tax revenue in an old-fashioned, morally correct, good 'ole American work ethic kinda way: gambling. In the Chris Christie worldview, pot sales = shady, scummy, and satanic. But gambling peoples' hard-earned money away = all that's right and good with the world. All righty, then.

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#5 No jobs for Joisey

US Attorney General Eric Holder's recent memo noting that the feds are simpatico with recreational marijuana sales taking place in states which that voted that way was generally hailed as a victory for rationality. Rationality being the polar opposite of bat-shit-craziness, Governor Christie felt compelled to drop the hammer on the Holder memo. Besides characterizing it a "mistake," he went on to issue a heartfelt personal guarantee that recreational marijuana initiatives would never pass in his state on his watch. That's quite a burst of bravado considering that cannabis commerce creates an awful lot of jobs, and, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 400,000 of New Jersey's 9 million residents happen to be unemployed. In fairness, it must be noted that several state-sanctioned dispensaries are threatening to fight their way through Chris Christie's lockdown regulations and actually open for business this fall. We’re already misty eyed over all the cannajobs New Jersey's MMJ program has the potential to create. There could be a good dozen cannajobs opening up, maybe as many as twenty. This surge in gainful employment could reduce the rolls of the unemployed from 400,000 to around 399,984,a decrease of a whopping .0000001%. No wonder the Republican party has its eye on Governor Christie as a presidential candidate in 2016.

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#6 Only one of Jersey’s six approved dispensaries has managed to open ... and it's already closed

In New Jersey, the bucky stops with Chris Christie who has to sign any changes to the state's pot policies into effect. But, seriously, who would want to mess with his personally-crafted policy that provides for six dispensaries to serve the needs of the state's 9 million residents? That works out to a mere million and a half cannabis consumers per dispensary, so customer service shouldn't be any problem at all. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't each dispensary have to be Ikea-sized to provide for the weed needs of that many residents? Somehow, Montclair's Greenleaf Compassion Center managed to squirm through the regulatory gauntlet and open its doors this past summer ... only to close shortly thereafter since no one on the staff had any clue how to grow weed on an industrial scale. That's what happens when you license non-stoners to run a program for stoners ... We mean patients.

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#7 Christie ordains: Thou shalt not grow weed in "The Garden State"...but let’s still have dispensaries

New Jersey, which is nicknamed "The Garden State" despite having more superfund sites than California which is ten times its size, authored MMJ laws which do not permit patients or caregivers to cultivate marijuana. Only dispensaries can do that. You may recall there presently are no dispensaries in operation, so the state's 1,200 card holders are SOL.

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Coming up with a "you can't grow weed in The Garden State" edict exemplifies Chris Christie's lighter side as this Dear Leader keeps placing his personal stamp on NJ's distinctively barbaric and endlessly contradictory pot policy. Thank the weed gods we live in Colorado.