The 700 Club, a Christian talk show program hosted by staunch conservative Pat Robertson, is not the place you’d expect to find sympathy for the marijuana-legalization movement. But that’s exactly what happened this week when Robertson started talking about the need for more faith-based prison rehabilitation.
“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,” Robertson said. “Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That’s not a good thing.”
Robertson’s position is not as unusual as you might think. Support for legalizing marijuana has been growing amongst conservatives, who cite legalization as an answer to the “narcoterroism” in Mexico and the overburdened jail system. In October, Newsweek looked at the GOP’s relationship to marijuana, saying that although only 25 percent of Republicans favor legalizing marijuana (as compared to 55 percent of Democrats), the number has jumped seven points since 2005. The article credits the influence of the anti-government-intervention Tea Party. Considering President Obama and A.G. Eric Holder have maintained a Democrat policy of ramping up law enforcement (and prisons), could the GOP outflank the Dems on Civil Liberties? Perhaps Robertson is putting his toes in the water to report on the temperature.
It’s becoming increasingly hard for conservative candidates and lawmakers to square libertarian Tea Party catchphrases like “fiscal responsibility” and “limited government” with the government’s war on drugs, especially when their constituents might prefer to see a war on joblessness. When they begin aligning with the Drug Policy Alliance and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the only ones left will be the direct profiteers.
- Christian Coalition Founder Pat Robertson Calls For Marijuana Legalization (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pat Robertson Condones Legalized Pot (blogs.abcnews.com)