On the heels of reports earlier this month that there's a lack of demand for New Jersey's medical marijuana program, Gov. Chris Christie said medical marijuana is just a front for legalized pot. On the June edition of Townsquare Media's 'Ask The Governor' program Christie said he would not permit a de facto legalization of marijuana. One critic said Christie is misleading the public.

David McNew, Getty Images

"It is perhaps the most intrusive, overregulated, overtaxed medical marijuana program in the country," said Jay Lassiter, a spokesman for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey. "For Christie to cite a lack of demand is specious at best. He's smart enough to know what he's doing. The truth is he's made this program untenable."

Medical marijuana became legal in New Jersey under former Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009, just before Christie took office. Christie said he imposed strict regulations to stop recreational pot smokers from getting the drug.

"I think Chris Christie knows better than anybody else in the state of New Jersey why there is a limited demand for this program. It's because the program doesn't work," Lassiter said.

According to Lassiter, who is also an eligible patient the governor has made the state's medical marijuana program so onerous in part to bolster his conservative Republican credentials.

"On behalf of the tens of thousands of sick and dying residents of New Jersey our message to Chris Christie is clear; as long as there are people suffering your political ambitions are not a priority," Lassiter said.

On 'Ask The Governor' Christie also reiterated that he would never legalize the recreational use of marijuana because it would send the wrong message to kids. He said the state's medical marijuana program is a being used by some as a tool to legalize the drug.

"This program and all these other programs, in my mind, are a front for legalization," Christie said. "Unless you have a strong governor and a strong administration that says, 'Oh, medical marijuana? Absolutely. We are going to make it a medically based program.'"

See Christie discussing the medical marijuana program during the June Ask The Governor.