MANAHAWKIN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Chris Christie is reiterating his opposition to legalizing marijuana for recreational use and says tax revenue from sales of the drug amount to “blood money.”

Christie made the comments during a ribbon-cutting event at a drug treatment center in Manahawkin on Wednesday.

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Christie said pot is a gateway drug that would never be legalized in the state on his watch. The governor said he’s not going put the lives of children and citizens at risk to add money to the state’s coffers.

Christie has made drug treatment one of his signature issues as he considers a run for the Republican nomination for president.

He says that drug addiction is a disease and that abusers need treatment, not jail time.

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However, a coalition of advocates is calling for change, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported in February.

Right now it’s just a grass roots effort. A group of local prosecutors, civil rights leaders, medical experts and activists are seeking to legalize, tax and regulate the distribution and use of marijuana in the Garden State.

“The time has come to begin fixing our criminal justice system by ending unjust marijuana arrests,” New Jersey ACLU Executive Director Udi Ofer said.

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