Pat Robertson and marijuana legalization make for strange bedfellows, but he's actually been championing the cause—specifically its place in the conversation about prison reform—since 2010.
Yes, according to an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, the strict evangelical who believes gay people cause hurricanes and that mac 'n cheese may be a "black thing," is also for the legalization of marijuana. But it isn't because he's tried the stuff. It's a bit more complicated than that. “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson told The Times. "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." This has been a talking point for Robertson for some time now.
Back in December 2010, The Atlantic's Chris Good wrote about "Pat Robertson's Christmas Present to Marijuana Legalizers', his take on a recent airing of The 700 Club where Robertson said, "We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana, and the next thing you know they've got ten years ... it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. Young people going to prisons--they go in as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, it's not a good thing." Back then Robertson's spokesman said it wasn't a call to decriminalize pot.
So, fast forward to last week on The 700 Club where Robertson, as The Atlantic's Andrew Cohen writes, "devoted nearly nine minutes of the broadcast to commentary and a (really well produced) piece on the topic." Adding, "He's also right in identifying the notion that decriminalizing pot possession is one of the easiest ways to break the cycle of incarceration that ruins people -- and government budgets." Following that broadcast, Robertson told The Times' Jesse McKinley, " I just want to be on the right side... And I think on this one, I’m on the right side."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.