Christie: Imprison drug sellers, not drug buyers

Christie on criminal justice reform, immigration, Cosby
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Christie on criminal justice reform, immigration, Cosby 05:48
Watch more of Christie's interview Friday on CNN's "New Day" at 6 a.m. EDT

Washington (CNN)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday said it was right to send drug dealers -- but not drug users -- to jail.

"We need to keep violent folks behind bars as long as we can. But non-violent offenders, drug offenders that we're warehousing in prisons for years makes no sense," Christie told Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day." "It makes them less productive when they come out, and it doesn't deal with the root of the problem, which is the drug addiction."
Those who trade drugs, though, should be subject to a different fate given the associated violence.
"They're bringing significant violence to our streets," said Christie, a former U.S. attorney. "You know people who are dealing large quantities of drugs also are always using weapons and violence to enforce their territory."
    Christie told CNN he sees the criminal justice system as broken. Christie joins Rand Paul in the slate of Republican candidates who are making drug and sentencing issues a part of their 2016 campaigns.
    The governor also told Camerota that he would nationalize the drug court system. He said the current way of handling offenders mischaracterizes the nature of the offense.
    "The war on drugs has been a failure, hasn't worked, and we have to take a different approach to it," Christie said. "I believe treating drug addiction as a disease -- which is what it is -- needs to be done in this country and it needs to be done on a national level."