Christian-conservative leader Pat Robertson is the newest supporter of the decriminalization of marijuana in America and is endorsing faith-based rehabilitation houses over mandatory sentences for minor drug offenses. Robertson, a one-time Republican presidential candidate, said on his 700 Club television show earlier this week that he’s not exactly for the use of drugs, but believes criminalizing marijuana ruins young lives.
“Young people go into prisons; they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals,” Robertson said. “That’s not a good thing. We’re locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know they’ve got 10 years with mandatory sentences.”
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Robertson joins a growing list of conservatives to endorse the decriminalization of marijuana, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who decriminalized the drug in his state on October 1 based on economic realities and prison overcrowding. Last June, Sarah Palin also suggested prioritizing law enforcement efforts when it comes to decriminalizing marijuana and other non-violent drug crimes.
“If somebody’s going to smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm, then perhaps there are other things that our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society that are appropriate for law enforcement to do and not concentrate on such a, relatively speaking, minimal problem that we have in the country,” Palin said on Fox News.
Robertson referred to decriminalizing marijuana as getting “smart" on crime and said locking up offenders is not the answer.
"I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kind of thing it's just costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people," Robertson said.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director Neill Franklin said marijuana prohibition laws which send people to prison are immoral. "As a Christian, and as a former law enforcer who is now working to undo the damage these laws have done to our families and our communities, I'm glad to see Pat Robertson joining the chorus of faith leaders calling for reform," Franklin told Raw Story.
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