Chris Christie vows to ‘crack down’ on marijuana as president

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Chris Christie would “crack down and not permit” legalized marijuana if elected president, he told conservative Iowa radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday.

The pledge from New Jersey’s Republican governor, who is openly teasing a bid for the White House, would be a departure from President Barack Obama, who has made clear that while he doesn’t support full legalization, the Justice Department won’t be getting in the way of the handful of states that have voted to legalize it.

Here’s what Christie told Hewitt:

Hewitt: Right now, we’ve got the states of Colorado and Washington flaunting federal law by allowing people to sell dope legally. If you’re the President of the United States, are you going to enforce the federal drug laws in those states?

Christie: Absolutely. I will crack down and not permit it.

Hewitt: All right, next …

Christie: Marijuana is a gateway drug. We have an enormous addiction problem in this country. And we need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.

The governor has long opposed both medicinal and recreational marijuana and only allowed tightly restricted use of medical marijuana in New Jersey after a very public lobbying campaign that pitted him against the father of a little girl.

Related: Christie confronted over medical marijuana