Pat Robertson's spokesman says this is not a call for decriminalizing marijuana. You be the judge.
Robertson had this to say, in a recent airing of "700 Club," his regular Christian Broadcasting Network TV show, in the course of discussing his prison ministry:
There's something else we've gotta recognize. We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana, and the next thing you know they've got ten years, but mandatory sentences, and these judges just say, they throw up their hands and say there's nothing we can do, it's mandatory sentences.
We've gotta take a look at what we're considering crimes, and that's one of them. I mean, 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. Young people going to prisons--they go in as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, it's not a good thing.
His comments were first picked up by Raw Story on December 22.
Somehow, marijuana has gotten mainstreamed quite dramatically over the past couple years. First, a Field poll in April 2009 found 56 percent of Californians in support of legalizing marijuana as a budget fix; the next month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that pot legalization should be on the table; then, the Proposition 19 campaign to legalize marijuana in California gained national attention, as polls in the summer and early fall showed it to be competitive.