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Pat Robertson Demands Marijuana Reform and Blames the Drug War on Liberals

Update: Robertson has now made it official -- he's for legalization of marijuana, and supports the Colorado and Washington initiatives: NYT

For the second time now, televangelist Pat Robertson has gone off on our drug laws in a big way. This time he has an entire segment on his Christian Broadcasting Network program attacking over-incarceration and generally saying cool stuff that you never thought you'd hear on a hardcore Christian cable channel (except the liberal-bashing, of course). You can check it out from 20:40 to 29:25:


For the video-impaired, our friends at LEAP tapped out the transcript. Here's a taste:

We here in America make up 5% of the world's population, but we make up 25% of jailed prisoners...

Every time the liberals pass a bill -- I don't care what it involves -- they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don't feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.

I became sort of a hero of the hippie culture, I guess, when I said I think we ought to decriminalize the possession of marijuana.

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 controlled substance. The whole thing is crazy.

It is crazy. It's also crazy that so many of the politicians on the left who've backed this idiocy did so only because they were afraid people like Pat Robertson would accuse them of sympathizing with hippies. We've reached a turning point in the drug war debate where we're no longer arguing reform vs. non-reform. Every voice in the discussion of U.S. drug policy is speaking of reform, with the only difference being that people like Pat Robertson are serious about it, and people like Barack Obama are not. Weird, but worth watching.

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Funnel Clouds

Occasionally he is out of character and says something sane.

Maybe the drug war is causing tornadoes.

Liberals OPPOSE The Drug War; Conservatives Support It

"He is spot on right about the "left" on this issue.  "Liberals", for the most part, either support or acquiesce" 


This is exactly backwards. 

The War On Drugs is opposed by a majority of Liberals, and supported by a majority of Conservatives. 

The recent GALLUP Poll (the one that made headlines for the emergence of a majority favoring Pot legalization) carried a breakdown by subgroup, including six categories of political affiliation. Goes like this:

(Favoring legalization)

Liberals -- 69%

Democrats -- 57%

Moderates -- 57%

Independents -- 57%

Republicans -- 35%

Conservatives -- 34%

This is actually a consistent pattern over time, if you see opinion polls and legislative votes, it's nearly always 3/5 to 2/3 of the Left against Prohibition, and a solid 2/3 of the Right in favor of Prohibition. And that's been mainly out of Culture War revenge for the 60s.


Of course, what's going to have to happen for the laws to change, it will only happen when the Right finally stops standing in the way of change. As a part of that, they'll have to pretend that that's what they were about all along. If the illusion that they're 'sticking it to the left' motivates them to change the law, well, that should at least get the job done. It's been their intention of 'sticking it to the left' that's supported these same laws all these years.

All well and good, but...

Even if self-proclaimed liberals support reform, they certainly don't cast their votes for it.  Talk is cheap.

The Democratic party has done extremely little to end the war, while being responsible for ramping it up.

The Democrats are a joke, and to blame it on Republican interference is a misdirection.  Obama and his party REFUSE to make any moves.  Regardless of their excuses, these are the facts, and public poll results won't change history.

'Misdirection' is Excusing The Right. War On Drugs is Their Baby


Not “Republican interference.” The War On Drugs is the Republicans' baby, it's a Right Wing Production. The “misdirection” are these various claims that the Republicans are nothing to do with it, or the notion that they should somehow be excused from the conversation.


Granted, the lack of action is frustrating the hell out of me. It's about the only thing the Obama administration's doing that genuinely pisses me off. And, I know, I'm not the only one.


It's not only opinion polls. Often, when there are votes, legislative things about Cannabis Law, the pro-Pot vote usually comes out at around 60% from the Left, vs. 30% from the Right.


Yeah, people need to elect more candidates who see the reality about this issue. (When I had the (rare) chance to, I voted Kucinich in the '04 Primary. True, he didn't get any kind of serious support from the Democrats, but how much is Ron Paul getting from the Republicans?)


Democrats haven't fought it enough, not by a long shot. But they're not the ones who make it happen, and Liberals are not responsible for a law that they oppose by nearly seven in ten. Why is there such a lack of progress? For one thing, Liberals are largely unrepresented in government, and that's one of the Culture War successes of Pot Prohibition.


Lately I'm seeing this historical revisionism (about a current event, nonetheless) spreading a lie, that Liberals or The Left are the ones responsible for the War On Drugs, and the reality is just the opposite. Right-wingers work very hard to push the idea that they're the only ones who are about Freedom and Liberty, but the War On Drugs exposes the truth, that the Right wing are more authoritarian. Despite their professing to hold dear 'Liberty, America (the country that gives us Liberty), and the institution of the Law (which is supposed to protect our Liberty)', in reality they created, sustain, and support the use of the Law as an instrument of Cultural Repression, to carry out a grudge. It undermines Liberty, perverts and cheapens the Law, and none of that is helping America.


 And the point of all this is not that one side's nicer than the other, or who likes to talk about what. It's just a fact, that we have War On Drugs because the political and social Right in America insist on it. 

  the political andth


Being a card carrying charismatic Christian right winger, I agree, we have, in the past, been on the wrong side of this.  But, it should be blatantly obvious to the most casual observer that is has been promulgated by both sides of the political isle.  For example, the crackdown on medical cannabis, presently going on, under the Obama administration, aggravated by the fact that his VP is one big hypocrite when it comes to the drug laws!  As a PAST, pain management physician, I had to drop patients, for using a plant that has much less harm than alcohol.  Big shout out to the DEA and backwards medical board where I worked, for this!  

It is just obvious that those of us on the right are not without minds.  With logical influence, we have been bringing out, the horror of this man made disaster.  Instead of spouting off how it is all our fault, you  might get a bigger listening audience by telling any of your Christian friends that Pat Robertson has joined the ranks of us that say legalize cannabis now!  JUST SAYIN'!!  I am so excited I think I am going to jump for joy and be speaking in tongues!!  LOL!


Nothing like complaining in the face of Pat Robertson, who has gone way out on the limb, to take our side in the issue.  Be thankful!  Don't worry!  Be happy!! 


I actually appeared on his show, in the mid 80's, asking a question of one of his segments with a TV doctor, who got in trouble for supporting health foods, nutrition, and VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS.  I think it was a Dr Lyndon Smith (MD).  It has been so long ago, I just can't remember his full name, for sure, this early in the morning!  his state medical board, later, went after him for supporting health food stores and vitamins, attempting to take his license!  Medical politics is a bitch.  They got me, too!  For being a "bad" (compassionate in my terms) pain management doctor, even after I was certified by the American Academy of Pain Management!  I was forcefully retired!

True, the Republicans started

True, the Republicans started it.  But when Democrats have a majority all around, what do they do?  Nothing.  Maybe they would not have succeeded, but they still did not even bother to try.  You don't only try things if you are 100% sure you will succeed.  You try them because they are the right things to do, and if no one tries (Democrats), then it's on you too.  Democrats have proven themselves with their inaction.  If you are still trying to associate legalization with Liberals, then you'll have to disassociate Liberals from Democrats to be consistent.

True, Elected Democrats Haven't Fought Like They Should.


Couple of things about that:

  1. Even worse, you have to disassociate Democrats from elected Democrats. Yes, the Democratic Party haven't made a real push for it. It is of great frustration to me (and I'm not the only one) that we have the Republican Party who's happy to cater to, and cheerlead for, their far Right flank, and a Democratic Party which is so self-consciously Centrist.

  2. It's not accurate to say, though, that the Democrats have done nothing. Numerous bills have been submitted in Congress. Often, they're proposed by – sponsored and co-sponsored by members of both parties, for bipartisanship, and then they go down because they get more 'Nay's from the Right than 'Yea's from the Left. (Besides, consider the last three years with regard to the Congress and the White House. All the Republicans needed was that 41st vote in the Senate, and 59 Democratic Senators and a Democratic President were stalemated – At least, until everybody wanted to go home for Christmas.)

  3.  If I leave my bike outside, and someone steals it, yes, I am guilty of negligence, or not working hard enough for my security. But that still doesn't make me the same as the thief, nor even an accomplice.

Malkavian's picture

Political spectrums lacking

When I look at the Left and Right both are infected by factors that make them impossible, but because the spectrum is ill-defined some nuances are lost.

The Right has the problem of conservatism, which is probably why both Republicans and Conservatives in this poll have an abysmally low support for legalization. Conservatism feeds the need to pounce on "deviants", and often conservatives are clinging too much to yesterday to be of any use. For all practical purposes the conservative part of a political party lends itself to more collectivist/socialist thinking on issues. Remember Nobel Prize laureate Milton Friedman and his excellent article"The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise ". Read it and consider if those Republicans don't have a blind, Socialist passenger.

If I had to highlight anything that's off with the Republican party it's this, their greatest deception ever.

The Left is trickier, and I would add devious to that too. Now, I can talk with some weight on this as I'm Danish and our leftism has reached a level that most Americans can't even begin to imagine.

The ideological problems with lefties is that they will eventually deploy a collectivist view of citizens, and the longer it goes on the more Socialist people will be attracted to the power structure. And before we can say "police brutality" they've redefined the individual as a property of the State: you're first a part of the Collective, then an individual.

So you get Medicare, so-called "free" hospitals, you get "free" education, then you get even more "free" stuff. Next thing you know some leftie will be talking about how drug use damages the productivity of citizens and how "everyone else will have to pay for your medical bills when you're in the hospitals because of dangerous drugs". Suddenly drug use is NOT a victimless crime because you've been redefined!

Next thing you know they'll be smothering citizens will all sorts of well-meaning legislation meant to "protect them". If you doubt their sincerity ... look for the hand resting on the gun.

The Left ostensibly looks liberal - as in permissive - but one must ask a very important question: do you think that Liberals support marijuana legalization because of their fine ideology, or is is because marijuana was an outstretched middle finger against all things conservatives in 1968?

I, for one, think the Left's deception will be clear when we start to talk about "hard" drugs, which is pretty much anything that isn't good, old Socialist pot.

So what's it gonna be? I think that one has to look individualism and liberty vs. collectivism. So I think that despite everything it will be a political Right without the conservatism part that will make it happen and keep it stable afterwards.

Because in reality it's the Socialist element - no matter your official political label - that's causing the drug war.


The left is not very present in successful politicians anyway. The current democratic machine seems to be only center of right, not left of center. Legalizing innocuous pots isn't exactly proletarian revolution.

It's just a sick joke anymore. Zealots, hicks, control freaks, vested money and power interests and propaganda victims aside. A pills a go-go carnival out there these days with guns drawn and the money gushin' all over the beneficiaries of the status quo.

He did criticize

He did criticize conservatives, although in less direct terms. Here is what Pat said:

We've said, "we're 'conservative, we're tough on crime." That's baloney. It's costing us billions and billions of dollars.

I take that to mean that he thinks conservatives are part of the problem, too, by trying to own the "law and order" issue by being tougher than the libs. He thinks the money spent was wasted. That's my take anyway.

But good on the Reverend for recognizing the problem and speaking out. Hopefully other prominent religious leaders will join Pat in championing reform. 

This is good. Pat Robertson

This is good. Pat Robertson is finally waking up conservatives to the fact that: Even though you may think its immoral to use drugs (cannabis especially), it doesnt mean we have to send armed government agents costing trillions of dollars to prevent individuals from "harming" themselves.  Besides, do you think jesus would jail a drug user?

 Both parties have drug

 Both parties have drug warriors that would rather see you in prison than have personal freedoms..Change the minds of your friends and family and we will win this war.

Accommodation Works Miracles

If Pat Robertson wants to blame the liberals for the drug laws, and if liberal baiting is what it takes to get Pat Robertson on board to stomp prohibition into the ground, it is okay by me, a liberal progressive.

Mr. Robertson has always been known for being a fairly healthy guy, but he’s in his 80s, and if he has any health problems that could be helped with medical marijuana, he should give pot a shot. 

His anecdotal testimony on his medical marijuana experiment would be believed by a lot of people who right now say they’re skeptical of marijuana’s medical properties.  Pat Robertson’s example might be all that’s needed to tip the balance of conservative religious demographics to push the federal government to favor marijuana as medicine.  Go for it, Pat.


Hear Hear! Pat or ANY Right-Winger, Please Tell Your Friends!

Hear Hear!

I don't see that the Right Wing will ever face up to their role in this. What they'll have to do is pretend they're 'sticking it' to the Left and then that will give them the motivation to oppose the Drug Laws. 

If they admit to themselves that they kept Prohibition alive all this time, they'd have to face the fact that they supported a perversion of the law and done so much against Liberty, and with such pugnaciousness, that maybe they really aren't the sole force for Freedom In America they want to believe that they are. 

I've seen this before, it's not only Pat Robertson who sees imaginary Liberals behind the Drug Laws. But I've been around long enough to know the truth: The Conservatives are behind the Drug Laws. And I'm going to do my little bit to make sure that's not forgotten.  

> And I'm going to do my

> And I'm going to do my little bit to make sure that's not forgotten. 

But it just pisses people off to say.  We all want to see an end to the war.  You blame people now, they get defensive.  Just cooperate on ending the war cordially.

Cordial, and Honest. Both Are Important.

Honestly, who among them is going to change their position on this issue because of what I say? The third of people on the Right who can see that the War On Pot is wrong and want it ended? They're not going to turn around and support something they oppose simply out of spite against me. And the two-thirds who support the War On Pot (out of spite against me and people like me) aren't going to be pissed off at being accused of supporting the War On Pot. 

I've said to people on the Right who oppose the Prohibition 'Thank you, and please tell your friends.' And I've said to people on the Left 'One key to getting this law changed is in trying to get a shift in opinion among the Right.' 

I wish we all wanted to see and end to this War. Nationwide, more people want to see an end to this war than not, a slim majority which only emerged last year. The public opinion polls do mean something. When it comes to a law like this, it's only held up by support from the public. 

I'm only trying to shine the facts onto a murky misconception. Pat Robertson, while taking a (forgive me, but) surprisingly sensible position on the Prohibition issue, one that I truly applaud, inaccurately suggested (echoed by others) that Marijuana is illegal because of the 'Liberals desire to control everything.' It's simply not true. Marijuana is illegal in spite of Liberals, not because of them.

It's the truth, and I can't pretend it isn't. If I did that, I would be accused of being 'politically correct.' 

And, really, I look forward to a future, when the Prohibition has gone, and I've traded living in fear of cultural repression from my government for the occasional irritation of trying to correct the untrue suggestion that it was my side's doing.


Or, To Make a Long Story Short (I Know, I Know, 'Too Late')...


Just to clear something up. You seem to think, from what I've said here, that I intend to badger people about this. I don't. I'm not going to be working alongside people to end the Prohibition and be harping on it. I'll be thankful for everyone involved. (If it should come up in the conversation, it'll just have to end up something on which we agree to disagree. But,) you're quite right, let's work together!

A love of, and belief in, Freedom is something we all share as Americans. 

I don't say any of this out of any sense of 'My side's nicer than your side', I point it out, a.) because the opposite was being said, and b.) because it's important, in a battle for public opinion, to know where to concentrate one's efforts. If you want to change minds on the Pot Laws, it's worth knowing that seven out of ten Liberals already agree with you. Six in ten Democrats, Independents or Moderates already agree with you. And only one in three Republicans or Conservatives agree with you. So that's where you want to do some work, if you're trying to reach people. 

Really, if you are a Right-wing person who opposes the Pot Laws, Thank You, and you're in a unique position to reach the people who need to be reached. As I say, “Please tell your friends.” People can come to understand why, even if they're abstinent personally, even if they don't particularly Like Pot People, they can still see why legalization is important to them.


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The weedmobile will be leaving march 20th from Los Angeles to New Jersey -

Actually there's alot of

Actually there's alot of leftie commie elitist totalitarian scum opposed to pot. I can even see them protesting against big business pot one day. Probably holding up signs with words like "CAPITALISM+DRUGS=GENOCIDE" or "STOP EXPLOITING WORKERS FOR SELFISH DRUGS". F them I'm not religious at all but I'll stand in Robertson's corner on this issue.



Although im very liberal i

Although im very liberal i have a hard time calling myself a democrat because nowadays they dont seem like they are party of the people they simply masquerade as it. Dont get me wrong im definitetly not a conservative or a republican. But i guess i have to be somethin right? Independent? I dont know. but Pat Robertson sort has a point. i think people in government who use the democratic party as a plat form to get elected because they are slightly more liberal that the right wing whack jobs out there but arent really liberal mess thing us for the true liberals and most of the so call liberal congress including the president tend to be a bunch of p*ssys when a serious situation comes up and i was def. an Obama fan i just wish he would grow a pair.

For Gods Sake someone get a

For Gods Sake someone get a reaction video out of Romney or Santorum on this!!!!!  Scott any strings to be pulled?

People like Pat Robertson

People like Pat Robertson don't deserve credit for pointing out the obvious. Social conservatives have been ranting and raving about the evils of drug use since before the drug war even started. Nixon started the drug war. Reagan increased it exponentially. Since then no Democrat has done anything significant to stop it or has even been complacent in making it worse, example, Clinton era. But blaming this all on liberals is just a big fat joke and it shows the true colors of someone like Pat Robertson. Hes a spiteful ignorant old piece of dirt. 

This is just a plot to get young people to jump on the conservative anti-government bang wagon. Its like Ron Paul. All he has to do is say he wants to legalize drugs and a million college aged people jump to his support without ever learning anything about who he is and what his broader policies really are.

Drug legalization is important. Ending the drug war is essential to maintaining and getting back individual freedom. But throwing away your mind to ignorant conservative ideology is not the answer. I'm not going to support someone as stupid as Pat Robertson just because he pointed out something that is blatantly obvious to anyone with half a brain.

Idiot??!!  The point here is

Idiot??!!  The point here is not whether Robertson is worth supporting; but rather that the drug war is increasingly being viewed as a disaster, even by conservative Christian types -- who just 10 years ago would be pounding the prohibition drum.  The point of bringing up Robertson is to show how far we have come.

I just find it a bit

I just find it a bit hypocritical. Often the states with the harshest drug laws have the higher population of fundamentalist Christians. This is not a coincidence.

I'd also like to add that I think science deserves more credit then any political pundit, especially a bigot Christian, for gradually changing the publics views on drugs. Social sciences have proven over and over the drug war is failing. Natural sciences have proved that not only do illegal drugs have medical value but that they are often safer then claimed by drug warriors.

I agree with you friend,

I agree with you friend, there is a connection with fundamental Christian (religion) and harsh drug laws.  But this is changing as you can see here.  Thing to understand is that religion is not science.  You don't prove anything in religion.  Scientists don't look for heaven or the existence of 'God.'  The whole point of religion is "belief" and "faith" in something that people are not supposed to understand.  As far as religion works, all you have to do is believe and you will be saved.  No different than, if a person believes that arresting people for drugs is going to stop drug use. It is just nonsense, like religion, IMO.  The science of statistics proves that harsh drug laws do not stop drugs... it increases them.  But these prohibitionists still want to "believe" in something that is proven not to work.

The terms "liberal" and

The terms "liberal" and "conservative" have become almost meaningless as their usage has evolved to reverse their original meanings as far as many issues are concerned.  What's more, neither of our main political parties has a coherent political philosophy.  It is just a historical accident that the two parties have triangulated their constituencies and evolved to represent the odd coalitions they currently represent.  The Republicans say they want small govt. in the economic sphere, but they advocate big govt. in the social sphere.  The Dems are more (but not enough) for individual freedom in the social sphere, but they support excess govt. intrusion into people's lives in the economic sphere.  I like Gary Johnson and the Libertarians, who back free markets and free people.  

no, no, no . . .

the "drug war" is not a "failure"

the purpose of the "drug war" is to allow the state to smash up the people, while the gangsters make money

alcohol prohibition showed the way; then the gangsters took over

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