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Pat Robertson Says Legalize Marijuana

Here's an early Christmas gift from one of the last people you thought was going to take a stand for drug law reform:

Here's the transcript, via Pete Guither:

“We’re locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing you know they’ve got ten 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 them. 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.”

What's going on here? I'll tell you. The idea that our marijuana laws are all kinds of stupid has taken hold in mainstream political culture to such an extent that anyone who wants to can just come out and say it. What a wonderful feeling that is for anybody who's silently rolled their eyes at our mindless marijuana laws for years, just waiting for the right time to say something about it. Well, that time is here and if a notorious windbag moralizer like Pat Robertson has figured it out, I'll never again be surprised to hear an unlikely voice joining the call for reform.

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Dear Senator: "Are you at least as sensible as Pat Robertson?"

Just tells you how much of an impact our movement is having. Absolutely groundbreaking. Please keep the momentum going by emailing this video to all of your neighborhood churches and social conservative politicians. If this man can see the light and take a public stand, what’s holding the rest of the world up? 

"Dear Senator What's Your Name,

Are you at least as sensible as Pat Robertson?  Lets put this baby to bed."

I hope the drug warriors are equally surprised at this

and not at all happy. I'm not aware of any prominent televangelists converting to our side before this, this could make a lot of people in his community (strong opponents as a group) take this issue seriously for the first time, and encourage those already supporting legalization to speak out. A nice Christmas present indeed, even if he is doing this at least partly as a wind sniffing career move, as has been suggested.

P-Rob comin' strong

I like that he refers to "just a few ounces of marijuana."  Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of full-on legalization along the lines of alcohol/tobacco, but a few ounces is more like a liquor cabinet than a six-pack.  It is amusing that even this doofus w/ no real knowledge of the trade still can see the absurdity of the war on people who are only harming themselves

Pat Robertson's comments on marijuana

While I agree with Robertson's comments regarding the legalization of marijuana possession I have to point out that he, like many who favor broad decriminalization of all drug crimes, mixes apples and oranges when he speaks of mandatory minimum sentences and "taking a puff of marijuana."  As a career prosecutor I can tell you that our prisons are not being filled up by people convicted of simple possession of marijuana.  Our prisons are being filled up by, and mandatory minimum sentences apply to, people convicted of DEALING in controlled substances.  It is drug traffickers, not casual smokers, who are gracing our nation's prison cells. A reasoned argument can be advanced for completely legalizing the possession of marijuana.  So, too, can an argument be made for softening the penalties for ALL drug offenses.  However, it is important to base that conversation on accurate assumptions.  Simply stated, mandatory minimum sentences and "taking a puff of marijuana" have nothing to do with each other.


I would like to see statistics on users & dealers before blindly accepting what you say.
I know of people who have been pulled off the road for a non functioning taillight, their cars torn apart &when a very small amount of marijuana was found, they were arrested. I'm not saying youright or wrong, I would just like to see evidence.
I was shocked by the vitriolic answer to you, & the expletives used in it. (I thought this was not allowed.) Your comment in no way deserved that kind of response. I'd just like to know how many users are in prison, & for how long. I can probably research this myself.


borden's picture

you are right

You are right that that type of language and attack is not allowed here. Hence that comment has been deleted. If the person who posted wants to post criticisms of the prosecutorial profession, he or she can phrase them in a reasonable way.

I would disagree with your

I would disagree with your statement that only drug traffickers face prison time. personally, I know more than one young person whose possession of marijuana for personal use have landed them with serious federal charges, because the prosecutors' line of thinking went "nobody could be smoking that much themselves, they must be dealing." While perhaps the people I know were not simply "taking a puff" of marijuana, they certainly weren't dealers, just people who bought a large amount, knowing they would eventually use up the marijuana. In my area, prosecutors and courts take a very tough stance on these kinds of issue and cannot be convinced by reasonable explanations.

This may be unrelated, but I also know young people who faced similar accusations of being dealers of other substances (mostly prescriptions drugs) simply because the law enforcement agents decided that they were in possession of too much to be using it themselves (a decision based on no real facts.)

I think the courts can be far too broad in their interpretation of who is a dealer, and should learn to distinguish between heavy personal users and actual dealers who are supplying many people.


if you listen to him...he sayin after they go in as youths for puffin maryjane there coming out hardened with that said..i can see them turning into dealers. thats were the gateway leave him be...and his chances are better...just a thought.

borden's picture



I agree that the typical prison inmate serving time for a drug offense is not a mere user. That one small part of Robertson's comment could be said to be an exaggeration. But not totally -- scan our archives on this web site and you will find examples of mere users who get caught up in the mandatory minimum sentences. There was even a case of a couple being charged for offenses that could get them 10 years in prison, their "crime" having been licking psychedelic toads. I'll take your word that you don't believe in bringing those kinds of charges against people who by a reasonable judgment are mere possessors, and that if you do drug prosecutions as part of your work that you don't use your authority to do such things. But it happens more often than you would like to believe.

More generally, as the Clinton DOJ's study found back in the '90s, the great majority of federal prison inmates serving time for drug offenses were "low level" -- not "traffickers" in the sense that your comment refers, but low-level people who worked for someone, addicts or other users who shared with friends or did the lowest-level selling to support their habits, girlfriends like Nicole Richardson who merely answered the phone in the apartments they shared.

Again, I sort of agree with you, but only sort of, and I urge you to take another look. As a prosecutor you are in a position to influence the attitudes of your colleagues who currently do use the letter of the mandatory minimum laws in ways that they clearly were not intended to be used.

drug laws

I read this morning of a prosecutor in Montana having to negotiate a plea on a marijuana charge, fearing she couldn't find & seat a jury pool that was able to impartially hear the case and render a guilty verdict if indicated. Many prospective jurors made plain they wouldn't vote to convict whatever the evidence was.

in texas, typical users CAN

in texas, typical users CAN end up in prison.  i almost did but i am fortunate enough to have had good lawyers and parents willing to help pay for them.  BUT  I still have a scratch on my record and have been turned down time after time in my quest to find employment.   I was not a dealer.  i had a few pot plants for personal use and got busted due to my own negligence.  im a college grad and i ve got a felony that appears in background searches.  So yes even low level user are getting screwed whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

And i do think that Pat is doing a good thing here regardless of whether is as informed about amounts of pot as some of the haters would like.  I guess he has some past beliefs or attitudes people dont agree with but at least here is setting a benchmark in a huge segment of the population.  Good job Pat!! Jesus would appreciate your sentiment regarding cannibis and so do i!!!

and a few onces is not that much.  it will last maybe two months or less depending how you do it, but its really not a large amount, it may cost a lot now due to prohibition, but when its legal, people will know two onces 'aint sh*t.'

Plus retard que jamais

Nice that Mr. Robertson has "found religion" on this issue, and pragmatic people need to welcome all supporters when they show up ready to fight for smarter laws. Yet where were all of these now-sensible people when our asinine Drug War Laws were birthed circa 1975 thanks to NY Gov. Nelson D. Rockefeller's presidential ambitions? These are the laws that were effectively nationalized during a midterm election cycle circa 1982 during the Reagan presidency with the connivance of a silly Congress led by Tip O'Neill. Consider how long it has taken for those in power to EVEN BEGIN TO catch up with the public's abhorrence of how the War on Drugs is causing plenty of damage and heartache beyond that of drug addiction. The Johnny-Come-Latelys can be foot soldiers in fixing things, but they are definitely not moral leaders of any sort. If they were, they would have started screamingFoul! by 1977.

Drug Laws

We all need to be aware of how politicians in Washington and Corporate America executives are working together to create a nation of their own, using the rest of us as their pawns and slave laborers to serve their greedy little needs.  They do a very good job of pulling the wool over our eyes, though. But don't you think it's time we put an end to their games?  That's what I thought President Obama was going to do.  Anyway........

They've created this "War on Drugs" to benefit us when in actuality it was just a way to fatten their own wallets.  The Corrections Corporation of America is one of the strongest lobbying forces in Washington.  Their stock has grown tenfold since 1994 and the CEO's earn a handsome salary.  They made tougher laws to fill their prisons.  They are using innocent victims for their financial gain!  It's  sickening.   What about the pharmaceutical companies churning out all those highly addictive pain meds. like Oxycontin, Percocet, Darvacet and let's not forget Xanax and Prozac, etc. creating a generation of teens and young adults addicted to the product of this multi-billion dollar industry.  Corporate  America, Washington and now even physicians are all in on this at the expense of innocent lives. How many of these unsuspecting victims are in prison because their physician got them hooked on pain medication?  Please don't misunderstand.  I believe MOST physicians are ethical and I have the utmost respect for them.  But, something has to be done about this abuse.  These drugs should NOT be so easily obtained by pill mill physicians.

Don't even get me started on the "War on Terrorism" another way to fatten wallets for businesses and politicians.  The War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism are two wars that they supposed could never end.  How convenient for them.  I wonder what type of unending war they'll dream up next. 

I apologize for getting off topic here, but now Corporate America and Washington are attacking our very own public school system.  Before you know it, Corporate America will be in control of education too.  They'll make it happen so slowly and gradually that you won't notice it as it's happening, but trust me, it's starting (see George W. Bush's Institute's First Initiative).  Washington has set up a system designed to make public education fail by practically tossing the bell curve out the window, so that Charter schools will eventually replace them all. The general public doesn't get the whole story when it comes to school grades and accountability so they just assume what is written is true.  We're losing our rights!

We can't let a small percentage of bullies destroy innocent lives and ruin our nation.  Our forefathers would never stand for it.  They laid down their lives for our rights.  We can't just let them be taken away.  Stop the drug war!  We need a War on Corporate America!

Consider This

Are "so called" illegal drugs illegal because the people we have put in office to represent us are possibly making money "under the table" to keep them that way?  I remember in my younger days attending parties where massive amounts of the legal drug "alcohol (ethanol)" was consumed and seeing numerous people in fights, even being at occasional parties where someone pulled a gun out and threatened others, not to mention people puking and acting as fools, but it was legal.  Then I remember going to parties where marijuana was the main substance of use.  It was hard to get people to even argue about anything, much less want to pull out a weapon and shoot someone and I know of nobody who has died from marijuana use, yet I know of many whom have died from alcohol related deaths, some very good friends.  What the hell is wrong with this country?  Why are we making criminals out of tax paying, hard working, law abiding citizens?  What happened to individual freedom in this country?  What nerve our politicians have to be sending soldiers to other countries to force our "so called" morals on others, while holding our own citizens hostage!  It's an outrage!!!  Legalize marijuana and let people choose for themselves what they desire to ingest in their own bodies, it's not our politicians business, it's our lives!!  Don't even get me started on the wrong being done to millions of hard working Americans who have to deal with being threatened daily at work with incriminating urinalysis test, just so Workman's Comp. can find a way to keep from paying for injuries on the job and "rip-off" insurance companies can justify denying coverage to people, after raping people in their "over priced" coverage.  I could go on for days over the injustice we're experiencing in this country, but will it really make a difference????  Open your eyes people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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