Pat Robertson Urges Decriminalization of Marijuana
I never thought I’d see the day when Pat Robertson advocated a more libertarian position on marijuana than most of our politicians, but apparently that day has come. Or as Radley Balko of The Agitator puts it:
Remember December 22, 2010 . . . it’s the day Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson took a more sensible, pro-personal freedom position on marijuana than 95 percent of the country’s newspaper editorial boards.
Be sure to watch the entire clip to hear some suprisingly “sane” comments comming from Robertson and his co-host. Robertson’s take on how mandatory minimum sentencing laws tie the hands of judges is particularly refreshing.
12/25 UPDATE: Jesse Walker has recently put up a post over at Reason informing his readers that a spokesman for CBN sent him an email offering a “clarification” of Pat Robertson’s on air comments. This “clarification” reads:
CLARIFICATION OF MARIJUANA COMMENTS:
Dr. 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. He was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available. Dr. Robertson’s comments followed a CBN News story about a group of conservatives who have proven that faith-based rehabilitation for criminals has resulted in lower repeat offenders and saved the government millions of dollars. Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs.
Spokesman for CBN
Upon reading this email, I apologize to any of my readers at TMV who feel that I might have misrepresented Mr. Robertson’s views. However, I personally feel that this is more of a case of CBN backtracking from the views Robertson expressed on his show than of the drug decriminalization community “jumping the gun”, as I feel that Robertson’s comments were unambiguously anti-criminalization in nature. As Jesse Walker writes:
Watch the clip again. Robertson said: “I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing possession of a few ounces of pot, and that kind of thing — it’s costing us a fortune, and it’s ruining young people.” Unless Robertson wants to claim that he’s for “costing us a fortune” and “ruining young people,” that sounds like a call for decriminalization to me. I’m sorry to see him walking it back, but I’m glad he’s at least standing by his opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing.
Aside from cowardly backtracking away from from the opinions that Pat Robertson expressed on his show, Mr. Roslan’s own comments suggest that he doesn’t understand the basic concepts of personal choice and personal responsibility. In his clarification, he wrote:
Dr. Robertson did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana . . . Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs.
Apparently, Mr. Roslan doesn’t understand that supporting the decriminalization of marijuana and being opposed to the use of marijuana are not mutually exclusive positions. An individual can vociferously oppose a particular lifestyle choice while simultaneously taking the position that the government should not be criminalizing such lifestyle choices (the position that Robertson seemed to be taking). Yet Mr. Roslan would have us believe that Robertson’s outspokenness against marijuana use proves that he supports continued criminalization of marijuana.
That’s the kind of flawed logic that only a statist could advocate.