Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition and Christian Broadcasting Network, is the kind of guy that usually opposes marijuana legislation. Deeply religious, conservative, and butt of a couple good jokes, Robertson reiterated this week that he's in favor of marijuana legalization. Not because he's looking for a relaxing night with lady cannabis, but because it would help fix a broken prison system.
"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."
This isn't the first time 81 year old Robertson has come out in support of legalization. In December of 2010, The Atlantic quoted Robertson as saying that sending people to prison for a few ounces of marijuana is "costing us a fortune." He also said noted the worst effect of criminalized marijuana: "young people going to prisons--they go in as youths and they come out as hardened criminals, it's not a good thing."
Marijuana activists and advocates couldn't be happier. "I love him, man, I really do," said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
And according to Toke of the Town, Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), says that Robertson is talking to an important segment of the public. "The millions of people who listen to and respect him are mostly conservatives, Republicans and older Americans -- who, according to Gallup's latest poll, have been the least likely to support legalizing marijuana," said Nadelmann. "His cogent arguments, and his willingness to speak out clearly on the issue, will prompt lots of people who have opposed legalization to think again."
Then again, Robertson also said that the recent tragedies caused by tornadoes in the Midwest could have avoided with prayer.
Marijuana activists will just have to (and seem to) take it at face value. Robertson says he's "not encouraging people to use narcotics in any way, shape or form," but has said that he is in favor of the initiatives in Washington and Colorado that seek to decriminalize marijuana.
"I just want to be on the right side," he told the New York Times. "And I think on this one, I'm on the right side."
This one, yes.