Colorado: Even with legal pot, we’re still better than New Jersey

Barb Wire

Colorado might still be divided over the issue of legal marijuana, but it was united in its response to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent criticism the state.

Christie blasted Colorado as a place with “head shops popping up on every corner and people flying in just to get high.”

Christie made the comments on his radio show Monday in response to a caller asking about legalizing marijuana for the sake of tax revenue, using Colorado as an example.

In his haste to distance himself from the path that Colorado took, Christie cut the caller off and vowed never to legalize pot in his state.

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“I am not going to be the governor who’s going to tell our children and our young adults that marijuana use is okay, because it’s not,” he said. “I don’t care about the tax money that may come from it and I don’t care if people think it’s inevitable. It’s not inevitable here. I’m not going to permit. Never — as long as I’m governor.”

“You want to elect somebody else who’s going to legalize marijuana and expose our children to that gateway drug and the effects it has on their brain?” he continued. “You’ll have to live with yourself if you do that. But it’s not going to be this governor who does it.”

Of course it was voters, not the governor, who legalized adult use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. In fact, Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed Amendment 64.

But Hickenlooper wasn’t taking Christie’s comments lying down.

His office quickly fired back with a list of ways in which the Centennial State outperforms the Garden State, which were compiled by Denver magazine Westword into a list titled “Top Eight Ways Colorado Kicks the Sh*t Out of New Jersey.”

At the top of the list was CNBC’s ranking of Colorado as the seventh best state to do business, compared to New Jersey’s 42nd place ranking. Forbes called Colorado the fifth best state for business and careers — New Jersey: 32nd.

Colorado ranks 14th in economic performance compared to New Jersey’s 33rd; second in innovation and entrepreneurship to New Jersey’s ranking of 14th; and eighth in business climate to New Jersey’s dismal 49th, according to

Finally, the Milken Institute ranks Colorado third in research and development to New Jersey’s position of 21st, and fourth best state overall in technology and science to New Jersey’s 15th place.

Christie, who is still believed to have presidential ambitions, also drew fire for knocking a swing state with nine electoral votes.

“I think when you’re running for president and you haven’t been to a state you know nothing about, you’re likely to say outlandish things,” Colorado Democratic state Rep. Dan Pabon, who sat on a governor’s task force to help craft marijuana regulations, told Denver’s Fox 31.

“When you’re counting your electoral votes, I guess he doesn’t think he needs Colorado’s nine.”

Fox 31 also reported that Christie’s office couldn’t tell the station when the New Jersey governor last visited Colorado or whether he’s been here since retails sales of pot began on Jan. 1.

The station cited a study by Healthways provided by Hickenlooper’s office showing that Colorado ranks seventh among states with healthy communities, compared to New Jersey’s 23th place.

The survey, the station reported on its website, “seemingly contradict[s] Christie’s characterization of Colorado’s communities being overrun by ‘head shops’ and marijuana tourists.”

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