Voters in four states and Washington, D.C. have approved measures legalizing marijuana for individuals over 21, and four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — approved taking marijuana production and sales off the criminal market and regulating and taxing them. Additionally, 25 States have now legalized marijuana for medical use within those States.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is now being vetted as a possible vice presidential pick for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to two ranking Republican officials as reported earlier today by Yahoo News and The Guardian. Additionally, many in the Beltway contend that Gov. Christie would be on the short list for appointment of US Attorney General in a potential Trump Presidential Administration.
During the Republican Presidential Debates, Gov. Chris Christie unequivocally and unambiguously stated that he would use the Federal governments authority via the USDOJ or otherwise to shut down all licensed and/or regulated use of marijuana in any State regardless of lawful medicinal or other legal use within such a State — i.e., Christie vowed not to follow the current DOJ policy concerning marijuana as most recently has been set forth in its 2013 Memo.
Protecting the Principle of Federalism in Marijuana Policies: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) reintroduced H.R. 1940, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act with strong bipartisan support. This legislation would modify the federal Controlled Substances Act to protect anyone acting in compliance with state marijuana laws from federal prosecution and resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, ensuring states can determine their own policies. Others have introduced similar legislation.
It remains imperative that all US States who have already authorized and/or decriminalized marijuana be vigilant in monitoring Federal officials and those who aspire to be. Similarly, States such as California which are now contemplating legal marijuana on the ballot this year, should be fully aware of Federal policy and particularly those who will be in a position to apply it.
Accordingly, should Trump select Christie as his VP (potentially becoming only a heartbeat away from the Presidency), or alternatively, appoint him as his AG in any Trump administration should Trump become POTUS, the result for State regulated, authorized, and legal marijuana could be disastrous specifically to State-authorized marijauna and generally to concepts of federalism as to other fundamental State’s rights.