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Pat Robertson: Decriminalize Marijuana (Yes, THAT Pat Robertson)

4 years ago
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So, California voters defeat a ballot effort to legalize medical marijuana and now Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and leader of the religious right, is advocating the repeal of criminal penalties for possessing small quantities of pot?

Something seems wrong with this picture, but we've got the video to prove it: On his Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) show the other day, Robertson was talking about his long experience in prison ministry and the problem of locking up small-time offenders who then cost taxpayers to feed and house them. Which led to this monologue:
We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing you know they've got 10 years -- they've got mandatory sentences and these judges, they throw up their hand and say "What can we do? It's mandatory sentences." We've got to take a look at what we're considering crimes, and that's one of 'em. I mean, I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong. But I just believe criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of just a few ounces of pot, and that kind of thing, I mean it's costing us a fortune, and it's ruining young people. The young people go into prisons, they go in as youths, and they come out as hardened criminals, and it's not a good thing.
Pat RobertsonThe comments naturally drew lots of attention and so quickly drew a response from CBN spokesman Chris Roslan, who insisted that Robertson did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana but rather "was advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws because mandatory drug sentences do harm to many young people who go to prison and come out as hardened criminals. He was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available."

Still, drug reformers were still celebrating Robertson's remarks -- after they got over the shock -- and are wondering if this augurs a shift in conservative thinking on the war on drugs.

"I suspect that Robertson has begun to realize that the War on Drugs is bad for family values," Ilya Somin writes at The Volokh Conspiracy, a legal blog. "It will take a lot of good works to make up for all the ridiculous and offensive things that Robertson has said over the years. But helping to end the War on Drugs would be a good start.

"As the recent defeat of California's Proposition 19 shows, the opposition of social conservatives is one of the biggest political obstacles to curtailing drug prohibition. Hopefully, more conservatives will come to the same realization as Robertson and, before him, the far more intellectually respectable William F. Buckley."

Pete Guither at dares to hope "that a powerful coalition of Democratic voters, principled conservatives, libertarians . . . and Teapot Partiers" could change the political dynamic. "Not bad."

But maybe not realistic. Robertson just doesn't have that much pull with influential social conservatives anymore, and tends to be viewed as a kindly old uncle who can go on a little too long once he gets the microphone.

Then again, who knows? Maybe he'll now come out for the other great libertarian cause, gay marriage. He'd have the younger generation of evangelicals supporting him on that one.

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There is a lot of interesting comments on here about marijuana. I don't smoke...never have. I have a brother that was a drug smuggler for years and finally got caught and spent 10/ys in federal prison...where he belonged. My out look on this subject is, people spend years for smoking pot and getting caught with a certain amount. We as tax payers are going broke paying for these people in jail, when I think they could have taken a course on marijuana like one is forced to do on alcohol.I did a little research on the marijuana vs alcohol, and the out come was that alcohol is far worse than marijuana. Why don't we outlaw alcohol since it is the biggest drug going...but it is legal! I have no problem with marijuana being used for medical purposes. I would hate to think if I ever had cancer and the only relief I could get would to have some marijuana cookies so I would not be so sick. Then on the other hand, I owuld hate to see marijuana legalized because we don't need any more drunks or potheads on the road to kill my family. I just don't get why someone has to put this stuff in their body in the first place.

December 28 2010 at 10:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What he says is the truth! The punishments for marijuana is way out of proportion with the offense. I just dont understand how this kind of punishment for smoking is still in effect. The justice system needs to have a complete makeover in this area. If everyone that smoked it would just stand together something could be done. But, as long as the system is making it the worst thing to do there can be no change.
I prefer to smoke than to drink alcohol. I feel that the alcohol is the worst of the two. The only reason that marijuana isnt legal is because of the liquor industry and the goverments inability to make money off it.
The marijuana smokers need to stand together and stop the harassment of people who would like their freedom to pursue happiness left alone.

December 28 2010 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

INSANITY: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! Example; Alcohol probition then Cannabis prohibition.

December 28 2010 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We must legalize and tax marijuana throughout the United States, to ignore the social and political nightmare our war on drugs has unfortunately evolved to only compounds this dilema. Medical marijuana is here to stay, and theres a worthwhile use for it, unfortunately some people will manipulate the system to benefit there own needs, and I truly believe that this problem will resolve itself with total legalization, and decriminalization.
Monitoring the cultivation and distribution of marijuana is certainly no more challenging then the distribution of gasoline, cigarettes, or state lotteries. Taxation and decriminalization means balancing a budget and taking the profits away from cartels and into our communities. Danny Marcus

December 28 2010 at 10:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Dottie Capizzi

Try to stop the weed is like time before d happen with alchol and cigarrete, only to lose time and money. who want to smoke go to smoke any way. dont care 10 ,o 20 years in jail they go to smoke.

December 28 2010 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These crazy minimum sentencing laws were enacted during the Newtie years during the 90's. I remember hearing one repuke congressman actually making the simpleminded statement that if we built enough prisons we could lock up all the felons and crime would go away. That simpleton (his name escapes me) is the attorney general of Florida today.

As for pat, I'm not surprised at anything that comes out of his alcoholic mouth.

December 27 2010 at 9:52 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

decriminalize pot, then make sure no one can use that as a reason for having committed a crime. Now you read junk where a defense attorney wants his murdering client forgiven or a lighter sentence because he was on drugs and didn't know what he was doing. Let people use what they will, but do not let them use it as an excuse for illigal behavior.

December 26 2010 at 8:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Moonwind's comment

It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and resolve all doubt. ~Abraham Lincoln

December 26 2010 at 10:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I hate that it has to be someone from the Christian Coalition to finally make some sense on a very important issue. Some people that have been caught using, raising, or selling MJ has drawn stiffer sentences that some that have killed people. And believe it or not, a lot of our worst crimes have been drug wars. Dicrimininalize pot, and we won't have our people getting murdered so the Drug Lords can get their product across the borders. There will no longer be a market for the out of the country product when everyone that uses pot can go pick it from their legal back yard garden.
Do not get me wrong, I do not use drugs of any kind, nor do I smoke anything, but we have filled our prisons with people that do. Guess who has to pay to feed them? The rest of us that are not locked up. Pat, I don't listen to you very much, but this time you said something worth listening to.

December 26 2010 at 8:16 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

I am soon to be 58 and my husband an I both sometime smoke. He started like at 15 and we have raised a family. Neither son smoke now,one never did and the other smoked all the time and just up and stopped 6 months ago. Never smoked in front of them nor talked about it as they grew up. Pot is not even in the same family as things like meth. Pot smokers I have known keep it to themselfs and don't do those other true drugs. I also ran my own business and never had a problem with it. I know so many that only smoke it and none of the other real drugs. Give me a pothead anyday of the week over a drug addict or drunk! So fining and putting them in jail as we really need that space for all the evil people I read about everyday.

December 26 2010 at 5:53 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jreppoh's comment

Been there, done that...fully understand.

December 28 2010 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its pretty cool he would realize that man did not make marijuana. Pills kill far more daily than mere "weed" sharing ways of hemp as manna. The Constitution is written on hemp and can and shall take the place of all tree products since the trees are the source of life in water and oxygen. That said, laws in the nation have changed, yet why is it that such ways as beer and marijuana have been deemed ok when used by adults since time began until the last century? Profit in punishing must stop as Mr. Robertson mentioned, thankyou for your support.

December 26 2010 at 2:29 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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