Pat Robertson ‘Doubling Down’ On Support For Marijuana Legalization

As weird as he can be, you might be surprised to find that you actually agree with controversial evangelist and 700 Club host Pat Robertson on a few things. Things like marijuana legalization.

Robertson has hinted in the past that he supports the legalization of marijuana, but came out as a full-on and unambiguous advocate in an interview last Wednesday.

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson said. “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.”

As reported, Robertson has made similar comments in support of marijuana legalization in the past, once just last week on 700 Club and in 2010. His viewers dismissed his seeming sympathy for a cause that was so obviously outside of his far-right wheelhouse, but he actually has some pretty solid reasons for supporting it. He says he thinks legalization will drive down rates of incarceration and reduce social and financial costs.

“I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up,” he said.

Just as surprisingly, pro-legalization groups have embraced Robertson’s support. It really is a smart move, considering that he is such an out-of-the-box supporter.

“Pat Robertson still has an audience of millions of people, and they respect what he has to say,” said the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group for more lenient drug laws. “And he’s not backtracking. He’s doubling down.”

Though Robertson doesn’t advocate marijuana use per se, he finds the punitive measures against the drug’s users to be too severe.

“It’s completely out of control,” Robertson said. “Prisons are being overcrowded with juvenile offenders having to do with drugs. And the penalties, the maximums, some of them could get 10 years for possession of a joint of marijuana. It makes no sense at all.”

Conservative groups have largely remained silent on Robertson’s marijuana views, even as they remain opposed to it.

Robertson himself hasn’t used marijuana before, hinting instead that alcohol was his pre-conversion poison.

“When I was in college, I hit it pretty hard, but that was before Christ.” He said that while marijuana doesn’t appear in the Bible, “Jesus made water into wine,” arguing, “I don’t think he was a teetotaler.”

Are you surprised by Pat Robertson’s embrace of marijuana legalization?