Pat Robertson: Marijuana should be treated like alcohol
Pat Robertson, the televangelist and host of The 700 Club, made waves last week when he said that marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol and also expressed his support for ballot measures in states that would decriminalize its usage:
[Robertson] first became a self-proclaimed “hero of the hippie culture” in 2010 when he called for ending mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession convictions.
“I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance,” Robertson said on his show March 1. “The whole thing is crazy. We’ve said, ‘Well, we’re conservatives, we’re tough on crime.’ That’s baloney.”
“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson was quoted by the newspaper as saying. “If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?”
Robertson said he “absolutely” supports ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state that would allow people older than 21 to possess a small amount of marijuana and allow for commercial pot sales. Both measures, if passed by voters, would place the states at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds.
As noted, Robertson has come around on this issue, apart from many social conservatives, in recent years. It highlights the increasing shift amongst conservatives that the War on Drugs has been unsuccessful — though how far that view reaches is unclear. Many states are looking at initiatives through Right on Crime, which seeks to give non-violent offenders a second chance.
Learn Liberty, a project of the Institute for Human Studies, recently highlighted the economic and civil liberties issues that come with the War on Drugs. Prof. Angela Dills explains what is concerning what Robertson and many others are thinking when they view the drug war: