Robertson’s remarks highlight cultural shift on pot legalization

Mark this day as a big step toward a major cultural shift. From the Associated Press:

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government’s war on drugs has failed.

The outspoken evangelical Christian and host of “The 700 Club” on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network he founded said the war on drugs is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. He said people should not be sent to prison for marijuana possession. …

“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 told the newspaper. “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 added. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.” He has made similar comments in the past, but his reiterating this stance might make his audience pay attention.

His sentiment about the failure of the war on drugs, at least, has been a growing one in conservative ranks. In 2005, Gallup reported that just 21 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of conservatives and 29 percent of Southerners favored general marijuana legalization. By last year, those numbers had increased to 35 percent, 34 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Among all Americans, support for legalization rose to 50 percent last year from 36 percent just six years earlier.

Those are pretty amazing rates of change for a social issue.

As many of you know, I have a 3-year-old son and a 1-month-old son. I am starting to believe that, by the time the oldest is old enough to think about trying marijuana — more than 10 years from now, but less than 15 — it will be legal for adults in this state and many others.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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169 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

March 8th, 2012
2:15 pm

I think he’s lying about his own usage.

I don’t think it needs to be legalized, but I do think the punishment structure for drug usage needs to change to one that helps people overcome their addictions. It’s cheaper for everyone if drug users are taught how to cope and re-integrate them into society instead of locking them up for years for abusing themselves.

ByteMe

March 8th, 2012
2:16 pm

In case no one gets it, my first paragraph was intended to be silly. Sometimes it’s too close to call when you just read it on the page.

Rick

March 8th, 2012
2:29 pm

More and more states are going to continue decriminalizing it and/or allowing medical use. I think legalization is still far off. Most mainstream politicians won’t even consider it. It’s kind of ridiculous though considering how much harm prohibition actually creates and the stupid reasons why it was made illegal in the first place.

1961_Xer

March 8th, 2012
2:36 pm

One word to describe it all: “Prohibition”. It is the perfect, indelible example of what happens when you try to outlaw a substance that anyone can easily make, that lots and lots of people want, and that will command high prices (and high crime, violence, and everything that goes with it) when some do-gooder decides that it should be illegal “for our own good”. Everything has its drawbacks. I have known high school football heroes with messed-up knees for life. I have known hard core runners with painful leg joints for life. I have known great computer programmers with carpal tunnel. Even things that are seemingly excellent for you can cause problems. We cannot outlaw everything that poses a health risk.

Life is about weighing the good (or at least the not bad) against the harm. I could never see, for example, meth being legal. It leaves a path of devastation so great and wide that whatever benefit (or not bad) that it briefly provides is quickly overcome by the harm that it does. Not so with alcohol or marijuana. I have known many people that have drunk alcohol or smoke pot casually for more than 40 years. They get up in the morning, work every day, and occasionally imbibe. This is not saying that the total cost of alcohol or pot has no detriment to society. But the harm caused by their prohibition far outweighs the harm caused by the substances themselves, and that is the lens through which you have to evaluate each and every substance that you criminalize.

HDB

March 8th, 2012
2:37 pm

Pat Robertson for legalization?? Maybe he’s becoming enlightened about the futility of the drug war!!

Don't Tread

March 8th, 2012
2:39 pm

Why stop at legalizing pot?

If you’re going to legalize one currently illegal drug, you might as well legalize them all. Then America can become a nation of junkies with no higher priority than looking for the next hit.

Rick

March 8th, 2012
2:46 pm

“If you’re going to legalize one currently illegal drug, you might as well legalize them all. Then America can become a nation of junkies with no higher priority than looking for the next hit.”

It’s about weighing the cost of prohibition versus the harm caused by the drug. The fact is, with regards to marijuana at least, prohibition causes more harm than it prevents.

Don't Tread

March 8th, 2012
2:58 pm

cost of prohibition = fairly measurable
harm caused by the drug = highly subjective, depending on who you ask

So, how do you define the point where “cost of prohibition”=”harm caused”? (In order to say something is greater than something else, you first have to define the equality point.) How do you measure something based on highly subjective criteria?

Logical Dude

March 8th, 2012
2:58 pm

Quoting: “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?”

Huh. . about time. Wonder why he didn’t say this when running for president all those years ago.

@@

March 8th, 2012
3:00 pm

Have you ever been in the home of pot-smoking parents. Their kids are negatively impacted. The same can be said for children of alcoholics…prescription drug abusers.

With me it’s about the kids. Parents should be willing to give up their cravings on behalf of the children.

@@

March 8th, 2012
3:01 pm

Personally, I think Pat Robertson’s a nutjob.

Rick

March 8th, 2012
3:08 pm

“cost of prohibition = fairly measurable
harm caused by the drug = highly subjective, depending on who you ask

So, how do you define the point where “cost of prohibition”=”harm caused”? (In order to say something is greater than something else, you first have to define the equality point.) How do you measure something based on highly subjective criteria?”

Well the biggest thing would probably be the physical harm that drug causes. Both directly from usage, as well as harm caused to others. My outlook is that as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, people should be free to do as they please. I would not want to legalize harder drugs, but possession should be treated as a health issue rather than criminal.

@@

March 8th, 2012
3:08 pm

CHICAGO — Smoking among America’s youth has reached epidemic proportions, starting them on the path to a lifetime of addiction, the U.S. surgeon general’s office said in its first report on youth smoking since 1994.

I guess all those government mandated warnings didn’t work.

schnirt

Logical Dude

March 8th, 2012
3:08 pm

@@ says: The same can be said for children of alcoholics…prescription drug abusers.

And yes, there is always a *small* percentage of users who fall into the abuser category.

Prohibition does not make sense for the majority of those who would use it when legal.

@@

March 8th, 2012
3:12 pm

Logical Dude:

This one’s kinda personal for me. My younger sister started using marijuana and graduated to heroine. The drugs took her out seven years ago.

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:13 pm

“Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government’s war on drugs has failed.”

And the left rejoiced. Amen.

Rick

March 8th, 2012
3:13 pm

I’m sorry to hear that @@, but like I said as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else you should be free to do as you wish. In those cases where parents are using drugs and not responsibly taking care of their children, they should be prosecuted.

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:14 pm

“As many of you know, I have a 3-year-old son and a 1-month-old son. I am starting to believe that, by the time the oldest is old enough to think about trying marijuana — more than 10 years from now, but less than 15 — it will be legal for adults in this state and many others.”

I also have a child and I also know that God is in control.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 8th, 2012
3:17 pm

Wow! A government program that has failed. Certainly a news flash if I here read one. :lol:

Seriously, though, I have always maintained that pot use should be legalized, however, anyone distributing pot (or any known addictive substance that impairs your judgment) should be severely dealt with.

Grow your own? Fine.

Try to make money off of getting someone hooked? Go away for a long, long time. Then let’s see how much drug use we really have when the supply dries up.

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:17 pm

” Maybe he’s becoming enlightened about the futility of the drug war!!”

HDB, you and I finally agree on something.

@@

March 8th, 2012
3:18 pm

Logical Dude:

In those cases where parents are using drugs and not responsibly taking care of their children, they should be prosecuted.

How would you go about doing that when the government said it’s O.K.? Who’s gonna take care of the kids…you and I?

I’m all for changing sentences for possession but getting into the business of providing drugs? Not so much.

Scooter

March 8th, 2012
3:18 pm

America is fighting two truly endless wars and they are on drugs and poverty. Neither will ever be won and both cost a ton of money; but, both give immense power to politicians.

Logical Dude

March 8th, 2012
3:20 pm

@@, I’m sorry to hear that.
I have a friend who graduated to meth, and was jailed for identify theft.

Legal or illegal, it would not have made a difference to them. My argument is that the war on drugs and/or prohibition has failed. Save the funds, or use the funds for rehab – like my friend went through. People come out much better from a stint in rehab than a stint in jail.

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:23 pm

UH OH LEFT WING TARDS!!!!!!

U.S. Unemployment Up in February

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.1% in February from 8.6% in January and 8.5% in December.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/153161/Unemployment-February.aspx

Logical Dude

March 8th, 2012
3:23 pm

@@ How would you go about doing that when the government said it’s O.K.?

The same way that you do for an alcoholic. There are already rules for child neglect. So it should be treated the same way.

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:23 pm

And THIS is why the idiot dems need to go.

SEBELIUS HAS ‘NO IDEA’ IF OBAMACARE ADDS TO THE DEFICIT

http://freebeacon.com/sebelius-has-no-idea-if-obamacare-adds-to-the-deficit/

Rick

March 8th, 2012
3:29 pm

“How would you go about doing that when the government said it’s O.K.? Who’s gonna take care of the kids…you and I?

I’m all for changing sentences for possession but getting into the business of providing drugs? Not so much.”

If the substance is legal or illegal, it doesn’t really make a difference. Do you think alcohol should be illegal again?

And the fact is that prohibition creates more harm than it prevents. It creates a black market for drugs where people will use violence to move their products. It practically creates the gateway drug problem because people buying softer drugs in contact with those who often also sell harder drugs.

@@

March 8th, 2012
3:35 pm

Logical Dude:

I’ll concede but the unintended consequences won’t be pretty.

Know of three young men who suffer from organic brain syndrome as a result of overindulging. One is in prison for murder…one is basically worthless to anyone other than his parents and the other suffers from bouts of paranoid schnizophrenia.

Enjoying a legalized tokefest can also create hazards in the workplace, placing co-workers at risk.

Okey dokey…I’m done.

Jefferson

March 8th, 2012
3:36 pm

The laws cause more problems than the plant causes.

Adults dealing to children is a different issue.

Education is the key to social problems.

Rick

March 8th, 2012
3:38 pm

“Know of three young men who suffer from organic brain syndrome as a result of overindulging. One is in prison for murder…one is basically worthless to anyone other than his parents and the other suffers from bouts of paranoid schnizophrenia.

Enjoying a legalized tokefest can also create hazards in the workplace, placing co-workers at risk.”

Marijuana is impossible to OD on and any links to physical harm are questionable.

Workplaces can still drug test all they want if they desire as they do now, that would be no different.

Jefferson

March 8th, 2012
3:41 pm

Cigs and beer used to be the “gateway drugs”, in todays world I just could not tell you, but I’m guessing a lot of it is legal meds in the form of pills.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 8th, 2012
3:44 pm

“Education is the key to social problems.”

Yeah, cause THAT’S worked out so well for us these past 30 years or so . . . :roll:

Don't Tread

March 8th, 2012
3:44 pm

I know of someone who went from pot > meth > other stuff > child pornography > child molestation > prison for a very long time.

Anyone know the formula for “harm done”?

Rick

March 8th, 2012
3:51 pm

“I know of someone who went from pot > meth > other stuff > child pornography > child molestation > prison for a very long time.

Anyone know the formula for “harm done”?”

So because he smoked pot, he became a child molester? Dude you have no reasonable way of proving those two things are connected. The fact is that most people who smoke pot don’t move on to harder drugs, just look at drug usage rates and it’s obvious. And as I pointed out, prohibition actually contributes to the gateway drug issue. If someone wants to buy some weed, they have to go to a dealer who may often also sell other, harder drugs. With legalization, you completely remove that element.

Jefferson

March 8th, 2012
3:54 pm

you can’t learn if you are running your trap.

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:56 pm

“I know of someone who went from pot > meth > other stuff > child pornography > child molestation > prison for a very long time.”

Sums up getalife.

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:57 pm

“Education is the key to social problems.”

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

Do what??????

March 8th, 2012
3:58 pm

“you can’t learn if you are running your trap.”

Retake remedial english, cupcake.

Now with Ten Percent More Flavor

March 8th, 2012
4:05 pm

“Just say no to drugs.” – What’s her name.

Does anyone know how muc government has spent on fighting drugs and how successful it has been. How about prohibition. Is it a fair comparison. Are alcohol and marijuana comparable. Should people have a choice. Liver damage versus lung damage for the abusers. What about the casual user.

Ayn Rant

March 8th, 2012
4:07 pm

Robertson’s right! The war on drugs has been a failure since inception, and the costs continue to mount. Here are some of the consequences:

- Dealers push to expand addiction among the gullible because the illegal drug trade is highly profitable.

- The public squanders billions every year to apprehend, convict, and imprison drug offenders.

- The drug trade blights communities and corrupts public officials.

- Drug addicts commit crimes, especially theft, to support the cost of their addiction.

- The American appetite for illegal drugs supports the international drug trade, which causes corruption, upheaval, and instability in all the Latin American countries from Bolivia north to Mexico. Many citizens of those countries flee to the US to escape the resultant poverty and despair.

The addictive drugs cost a pittance if purchased at source by pharmaceutical companies and dispensed by pharmacies. Addicts who see a physician to obtain a prescription for recreational drugs are, in effect, taking the first step toward identification, protection, and treatment of their addiction. This opens the opportunity for treating addiction, which is cheaper than imprisoning addicts.

Making generic addictive drugs available by prescription will kill the illegal drug trade by depriving criminals of the opportunity for immense, but dangerous, wealth and power.

Jerry Eads

March 8th, 2012
4:09 pm

It would be truly amazing if a major policy change on such a matter were based at least in part on DATA (as hard as it would be to collect) – as in, for example, what percentage of pot smokers migrate to other drugs because the sources are the same? Would they be as likely to migrate to other drugs if pot were taken out of the criminal environment? What percentage of pot smokers are otherwise productive citizens and is that worse or better than for those who consume alcoholic beverages? What is the likelihood that someone who smokes pot legally becomes an UNproductive citizen and is THAT different from those who consume alcoholic beverages? And on and on. In short, what do the DATA show are the benefits and consequences of changing policies and laws on pot possession and use?

@@

March 8th, 2012
4:11 pm

Rick:

Marijuana is impossible to OD on and any links to physical harm are questionable.

If you say so. I never claimed anyone died from overdosing on marijuana. I can only attest to what I’ve witnessed.

Marijuana also may affect mental health. Studies show that early use may increase the risk of developing psychosis (a severe mental disorder in which there is a loss of contact with reality) including false ideas about what is happening (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations), particularly if you carry a genetic vulnerability to the disease. Also, rates of marijuana use are often higher in people with symptoms of depression or anxiety.

^^^ From a medical site that neither promotes nor discourages legalization. Acknowledges all the states that have legalized the drug. That excerpt perfectly describes the third fella I mentioned.

I’ve known individuals who’ve smoked it long term and never suffered any negative consequences. No two people are alike. Some will gamble and lose. Others will gamble and break even.

I find no advantage in escaping reality…dulling the senses. I’ll leave that to folks who can’t handle the everyday challenges of life.

ragnar danneskjold

March 8th, 2012
4:14 pm

There are extraordinarily few drugs I think so dangerous that usage ought to be controlled: cocaine and derivatives, meth-amphetamine and derivatives, alcohol and derivatives. Those are all substances wherein people engage in acts they would not when sober – my definition of dangerous, as I have faith in the basic goodness of people. As to heroin, sleeping pills, marijuana – those are broadly no risk to society, only to the individual, and I would wish to see those sold over the counter.

Rick

March 8th, 2012
4:14 pm

In any case @@, as I said people should be allowed to do what they please if they aren’t harming others. If they happen to harm themselves, that its their own choice.

@@

March 8th, 2012
4:20 pm

Alrighty folks! No complaining when the children need our help. I will always be there for the children. The adults? I couldn’t care less about.

carlosgvv

March 8th, 2012
4:21 pm

If someone can assure me being high on pot does not in any way affect safe driving, I will agree with Robertson.

@@

March 8th, 2012
4:21 pm

Paging Hillbilly…where are you? The sports blog. I’m gonna slip on over to see if I can find you.

Michael H. Smith

March 8th, 2012
4:22 pm

Part of the problem with this topic of drugs, particularly the illegal drugs, is that too few people understand this nation’s drug history or the Constitution. This overlaps another issue, dare it be said a woman’s right over her body free from government control; and, provided “non-consensual force is used or harm is done” to anyone else, then the right to use one’s own body or to consume any substance in one’s body is the right of every individual. Constitutionally speaking our drug laws fall outside of the strict written limits of the Constitution, despite the court decisions that render them otherwise legal.

No need to say it, my views are Libertarian – Conserva-tarian – on the individuals rights of consenting adults(with stipulations on harm or force issues). If you want to kill yourself by using drugs, so long as you don’t burden, harm or kill anyone else in your quest to commit suicide or burn your brains up, then go ahead.

You are likely right on the change in drug laws, Kyle. My only objections to this change will be the government’s role of regulation via taxation. There will be many newly created addicts as a result of legalization and if government’s traditional role remains the same, which in all likelihood it will – thanks to big gub’ment scumbag politicians – none of these tax monies collected on the distribution and sale of these legalized drugs will ever be used to treat the medical conditions or the addiction rehabs of the drug abuser that are sure to occur that our government will have co-created, enabled and like it are not, “profited from” more than anyone in this new legalized drug market. Et al The taxation and regulation of Tobacco and Alcohol.

Rick

March 8th, 2012
4:26 pm

“Alrighty folks! No complaining when the children need our help. I will always be there for the children. The adults? I couldn’t care less about.”

Again, what is the difference if the substance is legal or illegal? There are already laws in place with regards to child neglect.

“If someone can assure me being high on pot does not in any way affect safe driving, I will agree with Robertson.”

Obviously driving while under the influence should remain illegal. Should alcohol be illegal again because it effects safe driving (even moreso than marijuana)? Or cell phone use in cars (some states already have done this)? Talking to others in cars? Messing with the radio? All these things contribute to unsafe driving.

A Different Chong of Cheech and Chong Fame

March 8th, 2012
4:27 pm

I lived in Holland for 5 years. Legalizing marijuana will not lead to anarchy. We’re such hypocrites over here. We preach personal responsibility but legislate as if no one has one ounce of restraint.

On the other hand, if the government takes over marijuana cultivation, they will surely mess it up. Potency will diminish and we will once again have to take to the streets to find some decent stuff.