Christie on minimum wage, marijuana
April 9th, 2014
05:53 PM ET
5 months ago

Christie on minimum wage, marijuana

Fairfield, New Jersey (CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie explained Wednesday where he stands on a recent push by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats to increase the minimum wage, saying he’d only support it if it was done in a “commonsense way” and phased in “over a period of time.”

At a town hall in Fairfield, the Republican governor was also pressed twice on the question of improving the availability of edible marijuana for sick children, a product that was made legal last year but has been scarce and difficult to obtain.

Minimum wage

Asked by a student about his stance on raising the minimum wage nationwide, Christie reminded the audience that he vetoed a minimum wage increase bill last year because it raised the rate “too much, too soon.”

The Democratic-controlled legislature sent over a bill that would raise the wage to $8.50 from $7.25, but Christie turned it down and offered an alternative of raising it by $1 over three years.

Democrats rejected the proposal and put the measure on the ballot in November’s gubernatorial election, when Christie won a second term.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot initiative, raising the wage to $8.25 starting in January, and amending the state’s Constitution to ensure that the minimum wage continues to rise with inflation.

“I think that's a really bad idea. I think in the long run it will end up costing jobs,” Christie said, but added “that's the rule of the law of the state right now. In fact it's constitutional. The legislature can't change it anymore,” he continued. “Crazy way to do business, let me tell ya.”

The White House and congressional Democrats, who are making the issue a theme in this year’s midterm elections, argue a nationwide increase to $10.10 would benefit millions of workers, increase productivity and lower turnover.

But critics say it would hurt the economy.

Christie, who’s considering a run for president in 2016, did not say he was outright opposed to a minimum wage hike nationwide, but stressed it should only be done under the right conditions.

“It's one of those things that sounds really good,” he said. “No one's against it, but we got to deal with the realistic nature of our economy that's still only growing between 2 and 3 percent, so it's not like we have some robust, exploding economy that's going to be able to support all of this.”

Marijuana questions becoming a town hall trend

At the town hall, Christie faced more questions from struggling parents who say they’re trying to get medical marijuana in edible form for their children. He’s been asked about the issue with increasing frequency at town halls this year.

While Christie has signed a bill that allows dispensaries to sell edible marijuana for children only, the state's dispensaries are selling very little due to low demand, Christie said. Patient advocates also say the process to obtain the substance is too expensive, bureaucratic and lacking of doctors willing to participate in approving the prescription.

Paula Joana, whose daughter Sabina Rose died of Dravet syndrome last fall at the age of 15 months, tearfully asked the governor to force dispensaries to provide the edible marijuana. Her family had been waiting two months to get it for their daughter when she died.

“We’re continuing to try to help to figure this out,” Christie said. “I didn’t think we were going to have to force people to produce something. Now, we’re seeing that we may have to.”

The governor warned, however, that those dispensaries may not want to do business in the state anymore if they don’t make profits.

It was the second question he took Wednesday about the issue. But he reiterated his concern that expanding marijuana laws could put the state on a slippery slope toward legalizing the substance, something he refuses to let happen.

According to a Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll released Wednesday, New Jersey residents are split on the idea of legalizing pot, which some lawmakers support in the state legislature.

Forty-eight percent of residents say it should be legal for people to possess small amounts of marijuana, while 47% oppose legislation that would do so.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Lisa Cooper

    Christy won't remain governor much less President. His views are too narrow minded and his answers are too quick.

    April 9, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    It is long overdue to raise minimum wage–raise to 12/ an hour. Gas is 3.57 cents gallon, milk to 4/ it is silly not to raise this minimum wage–it will not hurt, in facts it does big favor to Economy. True.

    April 9, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Speaking of robust. Did this guy do this all the time or are we just now hearing ad nauseum about him because of bridge gate or because he still thinks he can run (no pun intended) in 2016?

    April 9, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Norma jean

    considering Christies meaning of 'Common Sense"......... I say forget it!!!!!!.....$1.00 over 3 years??????.....In a half year it would have lost the value of the total increase....THESE POLITICIANS LIVE IN A LITTLE DREAM WORLD ALL THEIR OWN.....THIS IS "LUDICROUS ......ONE THING THAT I'D BE WILLING TO PUT BIG MONEY ON........THE REPUBLICANS WILL CONTINUE TO LOSE AND WILL NOT HAVE A MAn in the white house,possibly ever....They don't give a hoot about people and we voters are on to their lack of concern with anyone that isn;t wealthy already...You REpubs will pay with astonishing low votes in the Presidential election.."06.........Count on it!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. FrankinSD

    Definitely my choice for the Republican nomination. But then, I'm a life-long Democrat.

    April 9, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. claygooding

    Republican Party + wage payers,,Democrats = wage earners,,any more questions.

    Republicans + marijuana = loss of tool to reduce minority voters.

    Both party's + marijuana = the prohibition profiteers are paying the most money so they both ignore calls for reform,,,until they go to their next election campaign.

    April 9, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. claygooding

    Christie and all his political backers are wage payers,,,of course he wants to keep wages low. And as long as Christie has ties with law enforcement he will oppose any change to marijuana laws that threaten federal grants to law enforcement.
    Of course his ownership of several halfway houses serving the prison system that are kept filled with outprocessing marijuana criminals has absolutely nothing to do with his stance on marijuana.

    April 9, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. John F

    1 dollar over 3 years? Really?

    April 9, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    don't eat the cookies governor

    April 9, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Yes, a "common sense" way. Like crucifying your political opponents AND their constituents over petty disagreements. Enjoy your time in office Lord Fat Boy. You have proved the Peter Principle to be true... You have reached your "position of incompetence".

    April 9, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  11. sammy750

    Folks, Republicans don't understand economics on minimum wage or other economic issues. If the minimum wage was increase, the cost of food stamps would decrease by $46 billion over 10 years. Workers would have the money to purchase food, not use food stamps. And BTW most food stamp users are the handicaps, veterans, kids, and seniors. So Republicans are starving those that need SNAP the most.
    The reason our economy went south under G. Bush was he and the Republicans didn't understand or ever recognize what was going on with the economy or jobs. G. Bush ever stated that in some speeches.
    John McCain running in 2008 as President, said he did not understand economics.
    So we have a Republican party not educated in economics yet they present budgets that starve the average american. Paul Ryan has NO IDEA what his budget means. He continues to present that budget year after year and it fails. When will Republicans wake up. Let those that know and understand economic run the nation.

    April 9, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  12. smith

    what does it matter what he thinks. He is on his way out.

    April 9, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  13. S. B. Stein

    I don't think raising the minimum wage would be a bad thing. Given that Christie has cut the income support for those who are likely to earn the minimum wage. I guess his ideological masters have told him not to help the poor and wait for the private sector to do it.

    April 9, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Christie, an Obama worshiper, will love to follow Obama's lead on communistic equality and marijuana. Why one needs Christie?

    April 10, 2014 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  15. Name Uche Agonsi

    Christie has ceased being white house material. Like the rest GOPers whatever is good for the US meddle class and poor will destroy the economy where the gains by rich are considered acceptable. Most countries incorporate wage adjustments in their monetary policies. Its only timing...maybe modalities too. Christie needs not remind anybody of that. The issue is in the present circumstance where there is glaring income disparity between rich and poor, combined with slow economic growth (from/low demand), whether wade raise should not be done. Presidents should be sincere and trustworthy not vague with their responses to questions. That has been Christie, even in the Bridgegate scandal.

    April 10, 2014 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  16. Name Uche Agonsi

    Christie's responses remind me of his statements in Bridgegate..... Vague. Most countries incorporate wage adjustments in their monetary policies. The issue is timing and structure. In circumstances of much disparity in rich/poor income divide, and low demands and growth, wage increases become acceptable. The GOPers never liked benefits to the poor.

    April 10, 2014 05:40 am at 5:40 am |