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Pat Robertson Wants to Legalize Marijuana?

Pat Robertson Wants to Legalize Marijuana?

File this under just plain unexpected: television evangelist Pat Robertson, known for his inflammatory comments about gay marriage, Islam, and a host of other issues, said last week on his show on the Christian Broadcasting Network that although he didn’t believe that using drugs was right, criminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana didn’t make sense.

“I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong,” he said, “but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.”

The comment was part of a segment on faith-based prison rehabilitation, which is something of a separate issue, and it surprised liberal groups who have traditionally seen themselves as completely at odds with Robertson.  This is because Robertson has said some breathtakingly offensive things, like his claim that the Haiti earthquake was the result of a pact with the devil, or that Hurricane Katrina resulted from abortion and moral decay.  But pro-legalization groups still seized on the comment as evidence that the legalization of marijuana is gaining support not just among liberals, but within the religious right.

“His voice is respected by hundreds of thousands or millions of people who might not otherwise think about this issue seriously. His comments were a very important step forward,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told the Washington Post. “The only way that this country’s going to end up with more sensible and sane drug laws is if people call for it from across the political spectrum.”

Robertson doesn’t seem anxious to stand by his comments, though; a spokesman for CBN said in an email that Robertson was “unequivocally” against illegal drug use, and does not support legalization of marijuana.  The CBN spokesman explained that Robertson was calling for the government to reconsider the severity of sentencing for marijuana possession, not decriminalization of the drug.  It’s not hard to believe that that’s what Robertson did actually mean, but it’s still a surprising position – although I’m not sure it heralds new support for decriminalization of marijuana among the religious right.

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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129 comments

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6:18AM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

WAR IS LEGAL AN MARIHUANA IS ILLEGAL. WHY?
It should not be reversed?

8:42PM PST on Jan 6, 2011

That's the first thing I've actually agreed with our dear friend Pat.

12:24AM PST on Jan 2, 2011

I can think of a few reasons cannabis should be legalized, and on several levels, and is open to debate:

1) Cannabis has been used by man as far as 5000 years ago, as a medicinal substance and throughout time and has been credited as an effective treatment of a variety of ailments, from relieving arthritis, to quick stomach relief. Many doctors today realize this, and even prescribe it to some of their patients.
2) In the last few centuries, people began to use it in the same way they used tobacco and alcohol, as a way to relax and unwind after a long day. Unlike tobacco and alcohol however, cannabis has not been linked with illness or disease.
3) Many people feel that, given the properties of the plant, not to mention further potential if further studied as a medicine, feel it is their individual right to choose, like tobacco and alcohol, whether it is right for them, when on other accounts is an upstanding citizen.
4) Legalizing and regulating cannabis would essentially remove much of the the criminal aspects in the us, as the profit would go to the government for legalizing it. It would also generate billion of dollars in income for the us. That means more jobs and more money.

All in all, I don't see anything wrong with legalizing cannabis, I'm for anything that helps this country's enormous deficit, and ailing economy. It's also nice that many patients would have access to a much safer alternative to the medicine they're taking, if they're comfortable.

1:12AM PST on Jan 1, 2011

Oh, Elizabeth! I'm coming to join you, honey! This is the BIG ONE! - Fred Sanford.

5:51PM PST on Dec 30, 2010

Sounds like he had a religious experiance with the great herb that is mentioned in the old testament. Right on Pat, Pass it on down to me. Oh I am getting the munchies now.

1:26PM PST on Dec 30, 2010

I feel it should be legalized. I take several other drugs, depressant, anti - anxiety, and sleeping problems. When I smoke 1 or 2 during the day and before bed, I have no problems at all. It should be legalized.

12:48PM PST on Dec 30, 2010

Marijuana has many good effects,as alcohol has many bad effects.

4:38PM PST on Dec 29, 2010

I was shocked when I heard this. Pleasently suprised as well.

1:14PM PST on Dec 29, 2010

I am stunned at Robertson's remarks and hope his influence will help in the war on drugs. To me alcohol is a much more deadly drug ~ my first husband died due to complications from alcoholism and 24 years later I'm still grieving.

9:15AM PST on Dec 29, 2010

Perhaps Robertson will show some sense about climate change issues next... (good stewardship of God's earth should be an issue for Christians, however, the prevailing attitude in too many evangelical circles (especially Robertson's) seems to be that of a spoiled rich kid: if we trash our planet, our great-sugar-daddy-in-the-sky will give us a new one.

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