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Christie Moves on Medical Marijuana. Is Chafee Next?

Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, was among a handful of governors nationwide who backed off their states' medical marijuana programs for a time in the face of tough-on-pot rhetoric out of the Obama Administration this spring. But today, he announced that he will get to work on implementing the program right away.

The announcement, from a Republican with no great love for medical marijuana, has national advocates urging other governors - including Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee - to do the same. From Americans for Safe Access:

"If Governor Christie can implement his state's medical marijuana program in the face of recent attempts by the federal government to intimidate public officials, then states like Arizona, Rhode Island and Washington should be empowered to implement theirs as well," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group. Governors from the three states had indicated that they were unwilling to implement distribution laws due to threats of criminal prosecution by U.S. Attorneys.

In a piece in the current issue of the Phoenix, I suggest that Chafee could get away with defying the Obama Administration's warnings. Washington is talking tough, but medical marijuana remains enormously popular and it's hard to imagine a real crackdown in a state like Rhode Island, with a relatively well-regulated pot regime ascendant.

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