home
RSS
March 8th, 2012
01:22 PM ET

Pat Robertson speaks out for marijuana legalization

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Belief Blog

(CNN) - Televangelist Pat Robertson is raising eyebrows, and cheers from activists who are usually his opponents on political issues, by calling for the legalization of marijuana.

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson told The New York Times on Wednesday. “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.”

The comments came after Robertson affirmed his support for marijuana decriminalization - which he had voiced in 2010 - on his TV show, “The 700 Club,” last week.

“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,” Robertson, 81, said on his Christian Broadcasting Network show.

“I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hard-core criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance,” he said on his show. “The whole thing is crazy.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Robertson told the Times that he “absolutely” supports pro-marijuana legalization ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington, though he said he would not actively campaign for them.

Many marijuana legalization advocates, who tend to be liberal or libertarian and who often see Robertson as a boogeyman for his opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights, have welcomed Robertson’s support while also noting their surprise.

“Pat Robertson's clearly stated and well-reasoned comments throw a curve ball into the growing debate over legalizing marijuana,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the pro-marijuana legalization Drug Policy Alliance, in a statement Thursday.

“The millions of people who listen to and respect him are mostly conservatives, Republicans and older Americans (who) … have been the least likely to support legalizing marijuana,” Nadelmann said.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

A spokesman for Robertson said Thursday that the televangelist was inundated with interview requests and that he was unavailable for immediate comment.

Robertson said on his show last week that he opposed incarceration for marijuana offenses on humanitarian grounds and because of the costs involved.

“We've just got to change the laws,” he said. “We cannot allow this to continue. It is sapping our vitality. Think of this great land of freedom. We have the highest rate of incarceration of any nation on the face of the Earth. That's a shocking statistic.”

In 2010, Robertson spoke on “The 700 Club” about decriminalizing marijuana but didn’t go so far as to advocate legalizing it.

“We’re locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana, and next thing you know they’ve got 10 years with mandatory sentences,” Robertson said at the time. “…We’ve got to take a look at what we’re considering crimes and that’s one of ’em.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Politics

soundoff (1,395 Responses)
  1. Elizabeth Thompson

    If I said anything not in compliance with your rules of conduct I apologize. I am naturally antagonistic in controversial topics. But if you find anything I say offensive please don't post it. Thanks.

    March 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      Antagonism is one thing. Talking out of your a$$ is quite another

      March 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  2. easye123

    Legalize it!

    March 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Elizabeth Thompson

      All drugs, esp this kind, Marajuana, is a gateway to other more dangerous and hard drugs. It dulls the mind and also kills brain cells. The scientific proof is in...it makes you stupid. Is that what you want? A dull mind and a slow tongue at a time in history when you need ALL your senses sharp so you can just survive? It's your life....you have a free will. This is about as stupid and ungodly as it gets. Pat Robertson has slipped and is falling falling falling ......I hope he gets up before it's too everlasting late.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • commentguy

      agreed. elizabeth thompson is clearly a nazi

      March 10, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • sam stone

      elizabeth: support your claims, please

      March 10, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • sam stone

      "This is about as stupid and ungodly as it gets"

      No, Elizabeth, Prohibition is what is stupid and ungodly.

      You clearly have no idea of what you are talking about.

      Go take a hit of Jeebus

      March 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      legalization has build up steam, and those who have not used it (and, hence hold aburd opinions such as elizabeth) are fewer and fewer

      March 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  3. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is delusional.

    March 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  5. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes your crap really soft when you aren't constipated.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes your crap really soft and stinky when you aren't constipated.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~.......

      March 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  7. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  8. william

    Hmmmm, and here I thought Robertson was a total idiot.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  9. Reality

    As we the people, i.e. the federal government, have decided how things are to be done when it comes to regulating drugs:

    "Marijuana-based drug Sativex may get FDA approval ?

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    SAN FRANCISCO - A quarter-century after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drugs based on the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, additional medicines derived from or inspired by the cannabis plant itself could soon be making their way to pharmacy shelves, according to drug companies, small biotech firms and university scientists."

    A British company, GW Pharma, is in advanced clinical trials for the world's first pharmaceutical developed from raw marijuana instead of synthetic equivalents- a mouth spray it hopes to market in the U.S. as a treatment for cancer pain. And it hopes to see FDA approval by the end of 2013."

    Last time I checked, Pat R. does not work for the FDA.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  10. Jeff Lucas

    Church support for pot prohibition alienates potsmokers from the Gospel message. Pot prohibition is a stumblingblock that is subversive to Christian liberty.

    March 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Jeff Lucas

    " in the department of medicine, for healing, and sometimes also for moderate recreation, the delight derived from flowers, and the benefit derived from unguents and perfumes, are not to be overlooked. And if some say, What pleasure, then, is there in flowers to those that do not use them? let them know, then, that unguents are prepared from them, and are most useful."
    Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus, Book 2, chap. 8

    March 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  12. Maria Patata Fria

    Pat, I'd like to solve the puzzle...

    March 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  13. wisdom4u2

    Well, they'll stone you when you are all alone
    ♫ ♫
    They'll stone you when you are walking home
    They'll stone you and then say they are brave
    They'll stone you when you're sent down in your grave
    But I would not feel so all alone
    Everybody must get stoned
    ♫ ♫

    March 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      if you see me tonight, with an illegal smile......

      March 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  14. Tara

    I hit the post button before I was done (that is why you see 2 from me) oops

    March 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  15. Tara

    LEGALIZE IT!!!!!!!!! Alcohol is WAY WORSE and I don't understand how it can be legal over marijuana. Honestly, how many car accidents & car accidents resulting in death are linked to marijuana? And how many are because people are drunk? Hmm.......If anything marijuana will make you paranoid so drive better than you drive when your straight.....I just don't get it. For those who will disagree with me, I bet you've NEVER even tried it!!!!!

    March 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • ????

      I agree with you. However, the liquor industry and the huge government taxes are a real roadblock to making pot legal, not to mention prisons, DEA and on and on.

      March 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  16. Tara

    LEGALIZE IT!!!!!!!!! Alcohol is WAY WORSE and I don't understand how it can be legal over marijuana. Honestly, how many car accidents & car accidents resulting in death are linked to marijuana? And how many are because people are drunk? Hmm.......If anything marijuana will make you paranoid so drive better than you drive when your straight.....I just don't get it. For those who will disagree with me, I bet you've NEVER

    March 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      And the higher I get, the more sense this seems to make.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • just sayin

      Atheist can't dispute Truth but do love to steal from someone else.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      theists are the ones who think "truth" is capitalized

      March 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  18. Reality

    Government, i.e. you and me, regulates traffic, tranportation safety, food and drugs, stock and financial markets, defense, environmental releases etc. etc. etc. Should we stop all of this for the sake of LIBERTY?

    March 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • jay Dee

      Should we arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate millions of people for the sake of...well I'm not sure considering it has not had the intended effect. Marijuana prohibition is very much like alcohol prohibition and neither has worked.

      March 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      j.d. you seem to be assuming that the real intentions of prohibition matched the stated intentions of prohibition

      March 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      reality: tell us why what adults choose to consume becomes the business of the criminal justice system.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Reality

      Spoken like a true totalitarian. You sound like Plato in The Republic.

      March 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Reality

      As we the people, i.e. the federal government, have decided how things are to be done when it comes to regulating drugs:

      "Marijuana-based drug Sativex may get FDA approval ?

      Sunday, January 22, 2012

      SAN FRANCISCO - A quarter-century after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drugs based on the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, additional medicines derived from or inspired by the cannabis plant itself could soon be making their way to pharmacy shelves, according to drug companies, small biotech firms and university scientists."

      A British company, GW Pharma, is in advanced clinical trials for the world's first pharmaceutical developed from raw marijuana instead of synthetic equivalents- a mouth spray it hopes to market in the U.S. as a treatment for cancer pain. And it hopes to see FDA approval by the end of 2013.

      March 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Frank

      Prohibition was ended because it was causing society to fragment and the good of all was considered too important to allow to continue. This time around, we just built more prisons and tolerated the gangland violence as unavoidable.

      March 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  19. MsKitty

    I am really sick of hearing how MJ makes you dumb and lazy...so NOT TRUE...I smoked for years and years...I quit went to college..graduated TOP of my class...the non-smokers were left in my dust!!!:)),,,if you are stupid and lazy, please stop blaming drugs or liquor; it's you not anything else! Peace

    March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Elizabeth Thompson

      We don't have proof of your allegations all we have scientific proof for is that MJ makes you stupid. Google it and find out how it kills brain cells.

      March 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      elizabeth: you are the ones making the claim that it makes you stupid. i wonder what your excuse is. read the history of microsoft. they were all potheads. were they stupid?

      March 10, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  20. Mike

    Out of all the people to take this stand, Pat Robertson is one of the last ones I would have expected. But the discussion is certainly getting a lot of attention now, especially in my home state of NY where it seems to be picking up steam. There was a detailed article recently in Long island Pulse Magazine about this:

    http://www.lipulse.com/trends/article/smoke-and-mirrors

    I personally don't smoke, but I'm finding it harder to understand the reasons why it should continue to be prohibited...

    March 9, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Elizabeth Thompson

      Pat Robertson changed my life and countless others for years and years. Obviously, he has fallen spiritually and every other way....who knows why, but in stead of letting him lose his salvation what he needs to do is beg for our prayers and repent. Hopefully, we will all pray for him to recover his (Biblical) senses.
      His rational is that taking MJ leads to jail time where they learn hard drugs and come out worse than before. Perhaps there's a kernel of truth to that...but that is the extreme case. The use of that MJ instead of say, juice, pure water, other things that will enhance one's health....instead of smoking ANYTHING....NOT GOOD FOR THE LUNGS OR BRAIN.
      Why not push Heavenly things instead of corruption?

      March 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      elizabeth: this is a principled stand that robertson is taking. if you don't agree, too bad.

      March 10, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Elizabeth
      The Rastas consider marijuana godly.

      March 10, 2012 at 10:15 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Advertisement
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.