Opinion: Pat Robertson tells ‘700 Club’ viewers current marijuana laws should be changed

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The Rev. Dr. Pat Robertson, a longtime central influencer in conservative Christian Republican politics, came out recently on television to say that the direction many politicians have taken regarding marijuana has turned out to be wrong.

Robertson claims that mandatory minimum sentencing for Americans caught with relatively small amounts of pot is costing the nation too much money and is not rehabilitating them.


‘I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing, it’s just -- it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people,’ the televangelist said on his long-running show, ‘The 700 Club,’ on the Christian Broadcasting Network. ‘Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.’

Interestingly, CBN (probably in the wake of headlines like ‘The 420 Club?,’ ‘Robertson: ‘Criminalizing Marijuana’ Is ‘Ruining Young People,’’ and ‘Shock: Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson favors marijuana legalization’) has felt the need to fine-tune what its founder said.

‘Dr. Robertson did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana. He was advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws because mandatory drug sentences do harm to many young people who go to prison and come out as hardened criminals,’ Chris Roslan, a CBN spokesman, said this week. ‘He was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available. Dr. Robertson’s comments followed a CBN news story about a group of conservatives who have proven that faith-based rehabilitation for criminals has resulted in lower repeat offenders and saved the government millions of dollars. Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs.’

-- Tony Pierce