Darren Richardson

March 9, 2012

Former Republican presidential candidate and well-known television evangelist Pat Robertson, 81, told the New York Times in an interview published Wednesday that he believes the war on drugs is a failure and that legalizing marijuana would reduce the social and financial costs of harsh drug laws.

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson told the newspaper. He originally spoke publicly in favor of reforming marijuana laws in 2010. Last week on Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The 700 Club,” Robertson expanded his support for legalizing cannabis/marijuana. In the New York Times report, he made it clear that he a now a full-blown advocate for reforming the nation’s marijuana laws.

“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?” he said in the interview. Robertson, who finished second at the 1988 Iowa Caucuses behind then-Sen. Bob Dole, said he saw nothing in scripture that would prohibit legalizing the popular recreational and medically used drug. While noting that he has never smoked marijuana and never would, he also noted that Jesus turned water into wine.

“I don’t think he (Jesus) was a teetotaler,” Robertson said in the interview.

Robertson said he was not worried about any criticism he might receive from those who were used to him being on the “straight and narrow.” He noted that in some cases, young people with no other criminal records were serving outlandish prison sentences for possession of small amounts of marijuana/cannabis. That, he said, is wrong and contrary to the message of the Gospels.

“I just want to be on the right side,” he told the Times. “And I think on this one, I’m on the right side.”

Robertson is among the growing number of Americans who have come to the conclusion that marijuana/cannabis should be legal for both medical and recreational use. Last year, the Gallup organization found that for the first time, support for legalizing the drug had reached 50 percent, a record high (pun intended) since polling on the issue began some four decades ago.

Among current presidential candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Republican Ron Paul favor legalizing cannabis/marijuana.

Finally, for those who don't know, "420" is a popular slang term for cannabis/marijuana. No one, however, seems to be able to give a definitive answer why this is so.


Pat Robertson says marijuana use should be legal, New York Times, March 7, 2012

Record-High 50 % of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana Use, Gallup, Oct. 17, 2012

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