Chris Christie's Stance on Drugs Is All Over the Place

August 18, 2015

In dozens of town halls and campaign events in the past year, Governor Christie has made clear that he thinks the “war on drugs” has been a policy failure that should end after four decades of filling prisons with non-violent drug offenders.

“If we choose to stop treating the victims of addiction as enemies in a war, we can end this war,” Christie said in a campaign speech in Camden.

But at different points in his bid for the Republican nomination for president, Christie has also said he would fully enforce federal marijuana laws if he is elected to the White House.

“Marijuana is against the law in the United States and it should be enforced in all 50 states,” Christie said in a Fox News interview last month. “That’s the law,” he added, “and the Christie administration will enforce it.”

Side by side, the two positions seem at odds. The drug war is predicated on strict enforcement of laws from the bottom up. Policy experts and reform advocates have taken notice of the clash and are wondering: How can Christie double down on a core tenet of a policy he wants to end?

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