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Gov. Christie on legal marijuana: 'I don't think it's the right thing to do'

New Jersey governor Chris Christie said on Tuesday that despite public support, he would not decriminalize marijuana while governor
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told a town hall on Tuesday that although he’s willing to make adjustments to the state’s medical marijuana laws, he opposes legalizing or decriminalizing the drug. reports that Gov. Christie told an audience of about 500 people at Churchill Elementary School in Fairfield, "There are bills in the Legislature to legalize marijuana, and people want to decriminalize marijuana. I'm not going to do that on my watch. I don't think it's the right thing to do."

Christie’s comments come in response to a bill introduced by state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) on March 24 that would legalize marijuana and place it under a taxed and regulated system similar to that of Colorado, one of two states where the drug is legal. Polls have indicated widespread support in New Jersey for marijuana decriminalization. Christie’s remarks on Tuesday indicated that won’t happen during his term.

"As long as I'm governor, I'm not going to permit the decriminalization or recreational use of marijuana," quoted the possible 2016 presidential hopeful as saying. "If you want that to happen, you're going to have to elect a different governor."

Despite his unambiguous stance against further decriminalization -- which the governor has previously claimed would send "the wrong message" to kids -- Christie may be open to further changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws. CBS New York reports that the Republican governor told the town hall “he’s willing to consider new measures to make sure the right form of medical marijuana is made available to children who could benefit from it.”

Last year, New Jersey changed it’s medical marijuana program to allow children to obtain edible marijuana as treatments. Christie claimed on Tuesday that many dispensaries are no longer carrying edibles due to low demand, an obstacle that could prevent children from accessing their medicine.

“Now I have to go back and see do we have to in fact, as condition of licenses, force them,” CBS New York quoted the governor as saying.

Christie made those remarks after hearing from a woman whose child died from a severe seizure in December while on the waiting list for medical marijuana.

“This what happens when you don’t get the proper medical marijuana program installed in this state,” the mother told the governor. According to Levon Putney of WCBS, “Christie apologized in front of the room, saying ‘I’m horribly sorry.’”

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