Pat Robertson Renounces Marijuana Legalization Because 'the Little Kids Are Getting High'


CBN, via Right Wing Watch

The Washington Post notes that televangelist Pat Robertson, who endorsed marijuana legalization in 2012, has changed his mind. On his Christian Broadcasting Network today, Robertson had this to say about legalization in Colorado:

"Rocky Mountain High." [John Denver] was talking about the nice clean air in the Rocky Mountains. He wasn't talking about what's happening in a state that legalized marijuana. Now everybody—the little kids are getting high. They've got marijuana cupcakes and marijuana soft drinks. Marijuana gummy bears! Oh, do you want your little eighth-grader to be stoned when he goes to school? Well, welcome to Colorado, where pot is legal….

You know, I have been one that has been very much against the incredible incarceration rate in the United States of America, where we have made this country a nation of criminals. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country on the face of the earth, more so than mainland China, more so than Russia. And what are we doing? We are locking people up for the possession of marijuana. So what I have wanted, and I think it's a right cause, is the decriminalization of marijuana.

But apparently the next step is the legalization of it, which is a totally different matter. It's the full-scale spread of this stuff, and it is not good for people's health. It's destroying their minds and destroying their lungs. And the addiction is pretty heavy, and it's also a gateway drug into the heavier stuff like cocaine and crack—whatever else is out there besides heroin, etc. There's so many ways. They're sniffing glue. These kids find more ways to destroy themselves. But the citizens of Colorado have got to face the issue. Decriminalization…that's smart. But opening the doors so little kids can buy marijuana gummy bears…

Contrary to what Robertson said today, he did not merely support decriminalizing possession of marijuana; he told The New York Times in 2012 that "we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol," which means legalizing production and sale. It is true that his concerns about marijuana policy, which he began to voice in 2010, mostly had to do with excessive penalties for users. As Mike Riggs noted here in 2012, Robertson was (and clearly still is) under the misimpression that a large share of drug offenders in American prisons are there because they were caught with small amounts of pot. That is clearly not true. If Robertson is truly concerned about our country's appallingly high incarceration rate (and he certainly seems to be), he should be talking about people serving years or decades for offenses involving "the harder stuff" (as well as marijuana production and sale). 

None of which means that  it's fair or sensible to continue arresting hundreds of thousands of cannabis consumers every year. Even if they typically do not spend much time behind bars, they suffer the humiliation, inconvenience, and cost of being treated like criminals, including collateral penalties such as lasting damage to their employment prospects. Robertson still seems to think that people should not be arrested for using marijuana. But if so, why should people be arrested for supplying that marijuana? If consumption is not properly treated as a crime, neither is aiding and abetting consumption. That is the moral logic of moving from decriminalization of use to decriminalization of cultivation and distribution, a logic Robertson seemed to be following until now.

Robertson's reasons for backpedaling make no sense. The marijuana edibles that offend him have been legally available to patients in Colorado for years. The only difference now is that adults 21 and older can purchase such products without obtaining a doctor's note. Contrary to what Robertson seems to think, state-licensed pot stores do not serve 20-year-olds, let alone eighth-graders or "little kids." They are punctilious about checking customers' IDs to make sure they are at least 21. And as I pointed out last week, so far there is no evidence that the loosening of Colorado's marijuana laws, which began in 2001, has led to more underage consumption. 

Robertson may even be wrong about John Denver, who discussed his own use of marijuana (as well as LSD and cocaine) in his 1994 autobiography Take Me Home. It is a matter of debate whether "Rocky Mountain High"—which includes the line, "Friends around the campfire and everybody's high"—is merely about the beauty of a meteor shower in the Rockies.

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  1. Pat’s high on God. We should consider making God illegal.

    1. The irony is that by their Prohibitionist logic, God IS ILLEGAL!

      Not only does this video point it out, but the whole point of Jesus’ life was that he was rejected by the establishment. Their investments didn’t align with what Jesus said and taught so they treated him badly, constantly accused him of doing illegal things, arrested him, and were finally able to kill him.

      Pat is most definitely NOT high on God, and this is just more proof.

  2. Who cares? No, really. Who cares what Pat Robertson thinks?

    1. Really old people who always vote.

  3. Some of the kids are also trying 2000lb leg presses, but I don’t see Pat renouncing that.

  4. Robertson’s reasons for backpedaling make no sense.

    He probably just hired a new policy intern.

  5. Robertson then went on to talk about how he used to tie onions to his belt, which was the style at the time.

  6. I was just in Denver last week, and I can happily report to Robertson that I saw nobody, kids or adults, running around getting high in the open. The dispensaries are all legit, brick and mortar businesses, and they are all subject to laws regarding selling to minors.

    1. Many studies have proven that it is much easier for teens to acquire (illegal) marijuana than alcohol. I remember in high school getting alcohol was a huge PITA and required advanced planning and usually required paying off someone’s older sibling or the local homeless guy. Meanwhile there were at least a half dozen pot dealers I could call at any moment and have the goods within a half an hour.

      1. Same experience for me

        1. It’s only after you graduate college that pot gets hard to find.

  7. Pat Robertson could take a cue from Pauline Sabin:

    In pre-prohibition days, mothers had little fear in regard to the saloon as far as their children were concerned. A saloon-keeper’s license was revoked if he were caught selling liquor to minors. Today in any speakeasy in the United States you can find boys and girls in their teens drinking liquor, and this situation has become so acute that the mothers of the country feel something must be done to protect their children.

  8. Why is everyone concerned about legal? Legal or not, it’s lawful in every state in the Union.

  9. They’ve got marijuana cupcakes and marijuana soft drinks. Marijuana gummy bears!

    Do they have marijuana age-defying protein pancakes?

  10. It’s destroying their minds and destroying their lungs. And the addiction is pretty heavy, and it’s also a gateway drug into the heavier stuff like cocaine and crack?whatever else is out there besides heroin, etc. There’s so many ways. They’re sniffing glue. These kids find more ways to destroy themselves.

    Pat Robertson seems to be developing a close relationship with Alzheimer’s.

  11. Oh, do you want your little eighth-grader to be stoned when he goes to school?

    I’m sure the teachers would appreciate it.

    1. That’s what ridalin is for.

  12. Dear Pat Robertson:

    In the New Testament we read about those who continue to keep God’s green herb out of the hands of the people.
    1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
    3 ? and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Yikes!

    A Bible with a comprehensive cross reference will link the word “meat” in 1 Timothy 4:3 back to the word “meat” in Genesis 1:29, – the green seed-bearing herb. (Most recent Bible versions have eliminated this cross reference link.)

  13. “Robertson’s reasons for backpedaling make no sense.”

    Dear, he’s a televangelist raising money for his god biz. When your busy biz gets 50 emails from pissed off busybodies from the churches you’ll sashay your wrinkly dumb ass plumb wherever the cash is. In this instance no Lord Jesus follower following Robbie boy would ever imagine that pot has a place in the future kingdom of Jesus called America…

  14. It is a matter of debate whether “Rocky Mountain High”?which includes the line, “Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high”?is merely about the beauty of a meteor shower in the Rockies.

    Oh come on. By that standard like 90% of Tom Petty’s music is about drugs.

  15. I’ll allow Robertson to “renounce”.

    That means he gets to be (re)educated about what’s really going on in Colorado, and with outright legalization, in general.

    Colorado hasn’t seen an increase in kids using since the new law went into effect. Last week Colorado’s dept of public health released a report saying that marijuana use in Colorado by minors continues to decline, and that auto fatalities has also declined.

    I’m sure “the Lord” will let him see the light, again.

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