Pat Robertson, known for being the outspoken host of evangelical show “The 700 Club,” is advocating for the legalization of marijuana like alcohol because he believes that the war on drugs in the United States has failed.
At 81 years old, some people are considering Robertson to be a representative of the hippie era, despite his strong religious leanings. His primary reasoning for legalization is the fact that the US is spending billions of dollars in time and resources on incarcerating people for minor marijuana crimes.
“I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance,” Robertson said on his show March 1. “The whole thing is crazy. We’ve said, ‘Well, we’re conservatives, we’re tough on crime.’ That’s baloney.”
Legalization supporters are happy to have the Robertson’s endorsement, as he has the potential to open the minds of many conservative Christians who may not have previously been open to the idea of legalizing marijuana.
“Pat Robertson still has an audience of millions of people, and they respect what he has to say,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for more liberal drug laws. “And he’s not backtracking. He’s doubling down.”
Ballot initiatives in Colorado, Washington, and California could allow adults over the age of 21 to possess and use marijuana. While medical marijuana is legal in 16 states plus the District of Columbia, and marijuana has been decriminalized in many states throughout the country, no state has legalized marijuana outright.