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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pat Robertson: Pot possession shouldn’t be a crime

Pat Robertson: Pot possession shouldn’t be a crime

By Liz Goodwin

Conservative Christian talk show host and one-time presidential candidate Pat Robertson said on his influential show "The 700 Club" this week that locking people up for possessing marijuana is "ruining young people."

In a segment about faith-based rehabilitation for prisoners, Robertson criticized the vote-getting "tough on crime" ethos of politicians, saying the prison system is not working and locking people up is not the answer. He then specifically singled out mandatory minimum sentences for possessing marijuana as a major source of the problem.

"We're locking up people that take a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing they know they've got 10 years," he said. "We've got to take a look at what we're considering crimes. I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong. I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot -- that kind of thing -- it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people.

"Young people go in as youths, they come out as hardened criminals and it's not a good thing."

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This graph shows how the percentage of prisoners skyrocketed since the early 20th century.

A case we wrote about earlier this week in Montana, in which a prosecutor could not find enough people who think possessing marijuana should be a crime to seat a jury, shows that attitudes about the drug are evolving, and not just in blue states like California.

Some conservatives have advocated legalizing marijuana as a way to stanch the drug violence in Mexico. Robertson's segment promoted "Right on Crime," a group of conservatives who want to reduce the prison population with Christian outreach programs and reduced penalties for drug possession. Watch the segment below:

1 comment:

Sophie J said...

Legalize the herb, it'd be a start to solving many social problems. Bring it on and legalise it now!