Proponents of decriminalizing marijuana have a new and surprising ally: Pat Robertson.
The famously conservative televangelist said on a recent episode of his daily religious talk show “The 700 Club” that putting pot users in jail is costly and counterproductive.
“We’re locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing you know, they’ve got 10 years,” Robertson said on the Dec. 16 show. “They’ve got mandatory sentences, and these judges just throw up their hands and say ‘There’s nothing we can 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 use of drugs, don’t get me wrong. But I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot and that kind of thing, I mean, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people.
“Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, and it’s not a good thing.”
Robertson’s comments followed a news report on religiously based alternatives to hard prison time. Politicians’ insistence on incarceration as an all-purpose crime-fighting tool has backfired, the broadcaster said.
“You know, it got to be a big deal in campaigns: ‘He’s tough on crime, tough on crime. Lock ‘em up,’ ” Robertson said. “That’s the way these guys ran, and they got elected. But that wasn’t the answer.”
Advocates of decriminalizing pot welcomed their new comrade in arms.
“Holy Hemp!” was the headline on a blog posting Wednesday by Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.
“If I didn’t watch it with my own eyes I might not have believed it possible,” St. Pierre wrote, complimenting Robertson for making a “cogent argument” for reform. “Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
Article From HamptonRoads.Com: http://hamptonroads.com/2010/12/pat-robertson-endorses-decriminalizing-marijuana?cid=ltst