Pat Robertson's marijuana remarks cause stir
December 23rd, 2010
04:15 PM ET

Pat Robertson's marijuana remarks cause stir

By Alan Silverleib, CNN

The Rev. Pat Robertson - a longtime fixture in Christian conservative politics - is drawing attention for questioning an article of faith among many Republicans: mandatory prison sentences for certain marijuana-related crimes.

Some pot legalization advocates noted that Robertson also appeared to question the criminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana - a position later denied in a written statement released by his media outlet, the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"It got to be a big deal in campaigns," Robertson said on the December 16 edition of his show "The 700 Club." "Lock 'em up, you know. That's the way these guys ran, and they got elected. But that wasn't the answer."

Robertson said there is "something else we've got to recognize. We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing they know they've got 10 years. They've got mandatory sentences and these judges just ... throw up their hands and say there's nothing we can do."

"We've got to take a look at what we're considering crimes and that's one of them," Robertson added. "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 and that kind of thing, it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people."

They go into prison "as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, and that's not a good thing."

Chris Roslan, a CBN spokesman, insisted Thursday that 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."

The famous television pastor "was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available. ... Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs."

Roslan noted that Robertson's remarks followed a CBN story about the value of faith-based prisoner rehabilitation programs.

Robertson, who has made a number of controversial statements in the past, used his television presence to become a major power broker in GOP politics for a period of time. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, stunning observers by finishing ahead of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in that year's Iowa caucuses.

Most conservative officeholders continue to back both strong anti-drug laws and mandatory prison sentences for certain crimes. Some, however, have questioned the value of such stances, particularly in the wake of rising prison populations and expenses.

Some conservative libertarians - such as former New Mexico GOP Gov. Gary Johnson - have called for the legalization of marijuana.

A ballot initiative in California this year would have allowed adult possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure was defeated by a 54-to-46 ratio.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics • TV

soundoff (511 Responses)
  1. Malik


    January 6, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  2. Malik

    Totally Awesome I mean whats to say GRAT JOB!!!!!!!

    January 6, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  3. RightTurnClyde

    I have some musicians friends who claim to play better when they use wacky tabacky. I've always felt that Wild Turkey makes you a wilder turkey. Daddy-o Daly use to say about Thunderbird "what's the action? ... satisfaction .. what's the price? .. fifty twice ... what's the woid? Thundaboid!) Ten High is a lot like Thunderbird ..many pay-day homicides have involved Ten High .. so the user is not incarcerated for using Ten High but for what happened from using Ten High.

    January 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  4. Gr8teful

    Finally he said something that makes sense. I didn't think he had it in him. Maybe his followers will pay heed and listen to his message, after all their suppose to be part of the moral majority.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  5. Granny Green

    Marijuana and the business of Medical Marijuana is a declaration of independence from the traditional chemical compounds that have not always had the patient’s best interest at heart. The forefathers of California’s Prop 215 began the pilgrimage over fifteen years ago. Their path can be traced from the point of inception to where we stand united today, battling illness, disease, disability and pain with medical marijuana.

    The essence of marijuana and medical marijuana business/trade is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. Medical marijuana is tapping the pulse of today’s society, hence even Pat Robertson has to agree! It’s newsworthy and is being discussed coast to coast, every single day and gaining momentum as we speak. When in fact marijuana is NOT new news! It’s been around for centuries. It never went away. And it’s poised to be the “next big thing!” Come check it out! http://www.MedicalMarijuana.com

    December 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  6. Chuck

    I've never said this before about anything Pat's said, but:

    "From his lips to God's ears!"

    December 29, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  7. Gratis Poker Geld Online

    Howdy, lesen jetzt Ihr Schreiben in Deinem Blog und geliebt genießen Sie Hilfe finden Menschen mit gute Informationen !
    Good Work , gut wohnen und auch frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr 2011! Ich entschuldige mich für meine bad Deutsch!

    December 28, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  8. Rick

    This just proves that a busted clock is right once a day.

    December 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  9. Danimal

    Wow! For the first time in my life Pat Roberts is saying something logical. Perhaps it is the end of days.

    December 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Do not refer to Pat Robertson as "Rev".

    He is no longer an ordained minister.

    December 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  11. culchiewoman

    Patr Robertson finally gets something right? I am stunned.

    December 28, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  12. nwi

    it hasn't always been a "conservative GOP" position to criminalize marijuanna. Before the "War on Drugs" stance in the 1980's (that has made folks in the law enforcement industry wealthy), drugs were viewed as more of a public health issue during the Nixon era. I think that is Robertson's position here-he is not condoning drug use, but questioning whether it necessarily needs to be addressed by the criminal justice system (versus as a public health issue).

    December 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  13. Flora

    Even though I'm completely amazed by what I'm about to say, I have to agree. I'm a devout Christian as well, but I happen to harbor beliefs that would get me kicked out of the religion (if I hadn't already left). I thought organized religion was beyond redeeming at this point, but I have to call this a step. A small one, but a step nevertheless.

    December 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  14. How To Cultivate Weed - The Cannabis Grow Bible

    This is stupid, legalization is going all the way through the United States, and penalty for having small amounts of marijuana? Oh no...

    How to cultivate weed

    December 26, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  15. How To Cultivate Weed - The Cannabis Grow Bible

    This is stupid, legalization is going all the way through the United States, and penalty for having small amounts of marijuana? Oh no, that's a total no..

    How to cultivate weed

    December 26, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  16. Mr.Cranky

    Amazing. Sensible. Pat Roberts? Hmmm. I wouldn't have predicted hearing this from him in about a bajillion years.
    The big question may be:
    Since so many people recognize the rational approach to cannabis, why do we not act on what we know makes sense? Too much vested interest tied up in the court system, property confiscation, police budgets, prison system, et. al.?

    December 25, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  17. Dave

    I can't believe he actually said something that makes sense.
    Personally, pot needs to be legalized and alcohol should be outlawed.
    Alcohol is far more mind altering than pot. There is a lot more violence
    that is alcohol related than pot related.

    December 25, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  18. demopundit

    He MUST have been high all those years considering the things he said. And he must have gotten the munchies a lot considering all of the times he was heard eating his words - including today.

    December 25, 2010 at 6:19 am |
  19. Kingsman

    I love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and soul. I just find my relationship with the Lord is enhanced with a little buzz. I have been arrested, and am now a convicted felon. Right on Pat. You have really hit the nail on the head. Finally a man of God has stood up for what most users have tried to get across to the U.S. Government for the past 40 years. I am convinced that the Government can't control the use and distribution of marajuana if they legalize it, because they can't do a whole lot about it now with it illegal. Hopefully they will just turn their back on it's use, and move on to more important matters facing our nation.

    December 25, 2010 at 2:30 am |
    • St Peter

      Pat Robertson's not really a man of God...but he plays one on TV.

      January 13, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  20. Thomas

    Pats been smoking herb for years ! Why do you think they call it the 700 club ?

    December 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.