“I just want to be on the right side,” Pat Robertson told the New York Times. “And I think on this one, I’m on the right side.”
“This one” is the issue of legalizing marijuana, a policy that has long been opposed by many conservative Christians, a significant percentage of whom greatly respect the opinion of the longtime host of The 700 Club. Robertson, however, is parting company with them on this matter, saying, “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. 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.”
It is difficult to argue with him on that point. The 40-year war on drugs has utterly failed to stem the tide of drug use in the United States. On the other hand, it has succeeded in giving this country the dubious distinction of having “the highest rate of incarceration of any nation on the face of the Earth,” as Robertson pointed out on his show recently, calling it a “shocking statistic” for a supposedly “great land of freedom.”
“We’ve just got to change the laws,” he declared. “We cannot allow this to continue. It is sapping our vitality.”
It is also sapping our constitutional liberties. Federal drug laws are inherently unconstitutional. Prohibiting alcohol, after all, required a constitutional amendment; why shouldn’t prohibiting marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or any other substance? Moreover, the enforcement of drug prohibition has eviscerated the Bill of Rights, militarized local law enforcement, and embroiled the United States in illegal foreign wars.
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Photo of Pat Robertson: AP Images