December 22, 2010

Pat Robertson: "I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana..."

"... criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing it's just, it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That's not a good thing."

87 comments:

peter hoh said...

Good. I'd love to see this common sense approach reflected in our laws.

peter hoh said...

In other drug news this week, a Montana jury did its part to bring some sanity to the debate, too.

Bruce Hayden said...

I have to agree with Robertson.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Shoulda' got the hook for this guy 10 years ago. Some peoples brain doesn't age well, he's one.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Don't

EnigmatiCore said...

I don't usually agree with Robertson, but I do here.

Big Mike said...

As regards the marijuana part of the war on drugs, looks like everybody wants to declare defeat and go home.

SMGalbraith said...

This is a smart statement but he's someone that should just go away.

Far away.

Yeah, and Merry Christmas Reverend.

peter hoh said...

Big Mike, you can call it "declaring defeat," or you can can call it the slow acceptance that prohibitions tend not to work.

Lyle said...

PRAISE JESUS!!!

edutcher said...

And next time, it will be something bigger. It's called incrementalism and it's the way the Lefties work.

The idea that, before 1965, most Americans didn't go near this junk seems to have been lost on a lot of people. There was a reason why this stuff was outlawed, but nobody wants to think about that one. It's easy declaring defeat, but nobody wants to consider the long-range effect on society. Healthy societies aren't full of junkies.

PS Robertson has always been a little elastic when it comes to ethics. Consider his service during the Korean War.

Gene said...

BigMije: "As regards the marijuana part of the war on drugs, looks like everybody wants to declare defeat and go home."

The war on drugs was just another stupid war we got ourselves into in recent years. We should do what we did in Vietnam--declare victory and go home.

As a matter of fact that wouldn't be a bad idea for Afghanistan, Iraq and anywhere else the American empire still has troops deployed. Then when we get everybody home we should give them jobs rebuilding infrastructure all over America, which is a lot more important to our future than calling in missile strikes on mud huts in Kandahar.

Bartender Cabbie said...

Finally something common sense from that loon.

SteveR said...

Well, he is right

MadisonMan said...

If the problem arises from the prison sentence, then why not change that? How about making prisons for people convicted of something like possession?

Big Mike said...

@Gene, as long as you understand that it's not victory you're declaring but defeat.

rhhardin said...

The conservative position has always been that criminalizing drugs just made them profitable for criminals.

Don't do drugs but don't criminalize them either.

It differs from Robertson in seeing the perverse side effect of criminal profits well before the side effect of imprisoning violators. The latter is supposed to be the deterrent, in the prohibitionist plan.

chuck b. said...

Holy shit, I agree with Pat Robertson about something!!! Are pigs flying now too? Did he'll freeze over?

Bob_R said...

Well, edutcher, healthy societies aren't full of people who stick their noses in other people's business (according to me) but we generally don't put busybodies in jail with thieves, rapists, and murderers (who are slightly more aggressive about sticking their noses in other peoples business). In fact, it might be really bad for you if you convinced people who don't like busybodies that it was OK to put people who did things they didn't like in jail. So...keep up the bad arguments. They are healthy things for you.

somefeller said...

The conservative position has always been that criminalizing drugs just made them profitable for criminals.

No, that's the libertarian position. For too long, the mainstream conservative and liberal position (it's a bipartisan error) has been for drug prohibition. Good for Pat Robertson for finally coming around to where people like Bill Buckley or Milton Friedman were years ago.

el polacko said...

the stopped clock theory in action.

Seven Machos said...

This is all very easy. The federal government, to the extent it wishes to prosecute drug crimes, needs to focus on big suppliers period. This leaves the states free to enact laws of their choosing about drug possession and sales. It's more democratic and it will be much better for society.

It's a win politically because the federal government can say that it's by no means legalizing or decriminalizing drugs, merely leaving the issue to states and localities.

By the way, Gene has said in a previous thread that he thinks we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan at the behest of "AIPAC." Just so you know where the man's mind is ultimately at.

edutcher said...

Bob_R said...

Well, edutcher, healthy societies aren't full of people who stick their noses in other people's business (according to me) but we generally don't put busybodies in jail with thieves, rapists, and murderers (who are slightly more aggressive about sticking their noses in other peoples business). In fact, it might be really bad for you if you convinced people who don't like busybodies that it was OK to put people who did things they didn't like in jail. So...keep up the bad arguments. They are healthy things for you.

Not sure what he was saying there, but he apparently wasn't either.

Barring someone from driving drunk doesn't count as "busybody" behavior in the minds of most people. Realizing that a lot of substances can deprive people of sound judgment and need to be put under some kind of restriction doesn't either.

That's why we have some substances available only by prescription.

I guess doctors are busybodies

Saint Croix said...

Nobody goes to "prison" for possession of a couple of ounces of marijuana. You can tell Pat Robertson has spent zero time in the criminal justice system. I mean, he's just clueless.

You get probation. That's what all the minor bad shit gets, probation. Unsupervised probation.

Some people (libertarians) just can't process the idea of "minor bad shit."

Marijuana is down there with driving while license revoked, threatening phone calls, trespass, drunk and disorderly, prostitution, simple assault, all the minor crap. Driving without insurance, that's another one. On the books you can get up to 90 days, 60 days, or 30 days. In reality you get probation, probation, probation.

This idea that people with bongs are locked up with rapists, dude, whatever. Make bail, that would be my suggestion.

And if you can't make bail, might I suggest you stop smoking pot?

Seven Machos said...

On the books you can get up to 90 days, 60 days, or 30 days. In reality you get probation, probation, probation.

Well, then change the books. Why do the books say something no one really wants?

Further, you are wrong. In Illinois, the possession of more than 2.5 grams but less than 10 grams of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor. Punishment for a Class B misdemeanor is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1500. You are a fool to believe that such punishment never gets meted out for drug possession.

Tari said...

Wow, I agree with something Pat Robertson said. Excuse me, but I need to go throw myself off a cliff now.

Eli Blake said...

I think this is the first time I have EVER agreed with preacher Pat.

William said...

The dirty little secret is that marijuana is not such a great high. I think part of its appeal was that it gave college kids the chance to play act their outlaw fantasies. Left to its natural constituency, marijuana would be the drug of choice for arthritis sufferers and few others.....If you're planning on holding up a gas station, a few shots of Jack Daniels with a meth kicker is the way to go.

Seven Machos said...

William -- I completely agree. Marijuana is a total downer that makes you lethargic and confused.

Now, cocaine. That's a fun drug. That's your holding up a gas station drug.

Lem said...

There is more diversity of thought among conservatives than there is skin color among liberals ;)

Eli Blake said...

Keep in mind that more teens are now smoking marijuana than tobacco

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20025602-10391704.html

so it seems clear that the strategy of banning marijuana and making it illegal has been ineffective at keeping away from kids, compared to tobacco where we use education, ID check (hint: drug dealers don't check ID) and general societal discouragement, even while keeping it legal for adults.

EDH said...

One toke over the line,

sweet Jesus,

one toke over the line

Eli Blake said...

William,

Again, no reason to keep marijuana illegal.

As for meth, it makes people go crazy-- dangerously crazy. I was living in Moriarty, NM about 1996 when some dude got high on meth while he was driving down I-40, and decided his 13 year old son was the devil so he stopped his van, cut his son's head off and threw it out onto the highway just a few miles from my house.

I've never heard about marijuana making somebody do something like that. Usually people get high, they get real mellow.

Eli Blake said...

Whoops, here is that link:

more teens smoking marijuana than tobacco

I've been spending way, way too much time on facebook where links pop up automatically. I've even only posted three times on my own blog since August.

traditionalguy said...

Mandatory sentencing is very unjust in the extreme. I really believe that the growth of the criminal justice industry and profitable prison construction contracts are screwing up the way the states are interacting with new customers. Pat must see the damage done to the youth from that sentencing. He is not a dumb man at all. He is also a powerful force in Virginia politics.

edutcher said...

Eli Blake said...

Keep in mind that more teens are now smoking marijuana than tobacco

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20025602-10391704.html

so it seems clear that the strategy of banning marijuana and making it illegal has been ineffective at keeping away from kids, compared to tobacco where we use education, ID check (hint: drug dealers don't check ID) and general societal discouragement, even while keeping it legal for adults.


Excellent point. The media had a big part in glamorizing drug use. If we want to see marijuana use decline, we know who has to get involved.

(And it's more dangerous, from a health perspective, than tobacco)

Synova said...

Tobacco is probably a good example. It doesn't impair you but it is certainly unhealthy. It's not illegal but socially discouraged. It is possible to maintain legality for tobacco without seeing that as an endorsement or assurance of safety by the government. Why not with pot or even other drugs? Making pot legal does not have to be seen as an endorsement. It ought to be possible to promote awareness of dangers, true information, clean living.

Also, there is no reason at all that any employer can't have drug tests as a condition of employment. There are safety issues. No one has a right to work that means they can't be restricted in various ways by their employer.

And driving while under the influence ought to be severely punished, always. That involves a disregard for the life of others and ceases to be a "what I chose to do to myself" issue.

Gene said...

Mike: Gene, as long as you understand that it's not victory you're declaring but defeat.

We are not winning anything worth having in Afghanistan. Our troops are getting killed for no good reason, and we're going broke in the process. If you want to help America, then the way to do is to bring our troops home where they can help rebuild America. Blowing up things half a world away neither helps our security nor saves our economy.

Seven Machos said...

Marijuana should be treated the way our Carrie Nations want to treat to cigarettes. You can't do it anywhere but your own home. You can't buy it at the store. And absolute strict liability for health damages, which should prevent Big Marijuana.

Seven Machos said...

Gene can make any thread about his distaste for the War in Afghanistan. Just watch.

If you scratch him a little, he'll tell you how the Jews are behind the war. That's fun.

Bender said...

Virginia is quite strict with regards to marijuana, unlike Madison or Ann Arbor, where it is a five-dollar infraction (or at least it used to be).

Virginia is so strict, in fact, that a first-offender simple possession of a personal user amount will get you . . . probation. Not only probation, but what they call a suspended imposition of sentence, meaning that the case will be dismissed after serving that probation.

Sure, a higher penalty is prescribed on the books, but first and even second offenders are low priority. It is only when you get a third and fourth and fifth offense that you are going to see jail time for simple possession.

Moreover, both the probation and jail time are intended to be remedial, that is, to compel the defendant into drug treatment so as to stop using.

Without that stick, if they decriminalize or legalize, then you will have a lot of people not getting the drug treatment help that they need. Maybe the hippies in California don't care, but most drug users get to the point where they want to stop, but they can't -- they are addicted. The drug laws ensure, through the stick of criminal punishment, that they get help.

Meanwhile, it does society zero good to have people walking around or driving or operating machinery or watching children while they are purposely mentally impaired.

ET1492 said...

I will only support legalizing pot if growing it at home is allowed.

Saint Croix said...

In Illinois, the possession of more than 2.5 grams but less than 10 grams of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor.

Yeah, okay, all the states are different. In North Carolina the harshest sentence for a misdemeanor is 120 days. But it doesn't really matter what the maximum sentence is. You're not going to serve that.

All I can tell you is that in North Carolina, nobody goes to jail for a misdemeanor. I was really kinda shocked. I mean, assault by pointing a weapon, probation. DWI, probation. Hitting a woman, probation. And I was an ADA in the harshest county in North Carolina.

Not to say you won't get arrested. Just make bail,that's all. And if you got so much weed that you're classified as a dealer, well, that was stupid.

You are a fool to believe that such punishment never gets meted out for drug possession.

Is that what I said? Well that's wrong. You can definitely go into felony territory just by possession. I was just speaking about misdemeanors. What's shocking is how nobody goes to jail for a misdemeanor.

I was an A.D.A. for six months, trying 200 cases a day. The only time anybody went to jail was a) you were convicted of multiple DWI, or b) you got your probation revoked, or c) you pissed off the judge (a.k.a. contempt of court).

It's just frickin' rare. This idea that people who commit misdemeanors are sent to prison, okay. Not my experience at all. Although granted as the misdemeanor approaches felony length (1 year in prison), it's more likely that you might see some jail time.

I really think it's rare that some dude with a baggie goes to prison. You got some horror stories, please share. It wouldn't surprise me. I saw an outrage about once a week when I was a D.A.

I've seen witnesses go to jail for pissing off a trial judge. Not kidding. Usually it's just for the day, but still. You should see the look on their faces. My advice is stay as far away from the criminal justice system as you can. And if you're sucked into it, dress nice and be polite.

And finally, it seems to me we can reduce the marijunana penalties without putting weed for sale in a Kroger.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

So now that Pat has stated his stance, I guess I can be for what he's for.

And absolute strict liability for health damages

Strict liability is the way to go with "illicit" drugs. A smarter lawyer than Femmes pointed this out to me long ago. But it is funny to hear the little medical ignoramus choose to apply it to a substance about as benign as long grain rice.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

What St. Croix said re: Kroger.

The Crack Emcee said...

That's William F. Buckley - Hey, everybody, we're talking to William F. Buckley!

Oh - wait - I'm high.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

You're not high... You're just on crack!

Saint Croix said...

Here are the penalties in Illinois:

http://norml.org/index.cfm?wtm_view=&Group_ID=4535

note the probation, probation, and probation for all misdemeanors.

Freeman Hunt said...

Maybe we can get the drunkards to switch over to being potheads.

Seven Machos said...

Dude -- While I am gratified that you now know more than you did about the great state of Illinois, you are taking the word of some stoner at norml over an Illinois attorney. Also, you are not factoring in the way that previous convictions play into the sentencing on the next conviction.

Gene said...

Seven Machos, explain to me three things: How has the ten-year war in Afghanistan made America a better place? Where did you get the idea that Israel doesn't want us to attack Iran? Finally and most importantly, why do you put the interests of another country ahead of those of America?

Seven Machos said...

Told ya.

Revenant said...

Its a sad state of affairs when Pat Robertson is more reasonable than the Republican and Democratic political establishments.

Revenant said...

@Gene, as long as you understand that it's not victory you're declaring but defeat.

In order for me to declare defeat, I would have to have been fighting against marijuana.

So far as I'm concerned, ending this senseless war would constitute a victory of common sense over big government meddling.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

It's probably just me but I think, 'Wow that guy is so folksy and smooth. He's gotta be the most popular guy in the class. (Echh wait a nauseating salesman).'

Revenant said...

Excellent point. The media had a big part in glamorizing drug use. If we want to see marijuana use decline, we know who has to get involved.

Blaming the media for drug use is silly. People use drugs because they like getting high, not because it is "glamorous".

If you want to see drug use decline, genetically engineer human beings to be incapable of getting high. That's pretty much the only thing that hasn't been tried, and nothing else has worked.

Gene said...

Relevant: So far as I'm concerned, ending this senseless war would constitute a victory of common sense over big government meddling.

Practically nothing the government ever does sounds like common sense to me. Most politicians spend most of their time trying to make dumb decisions sound almost reasonable.

Fred4Pres said...

That is the most sense Pat Robertson has made in a long time. Good for him.

Saint Croix said...

you are taking the word of some stoner at norml over an Illinois attorney.

No, I'm not, there's no contradiction at all. The norml website says the exact same thing as your criminal defense lawyer. Maximum penalty is six months for the class B misdemeanor. What I am telling you is that nobody gets that. You get probation. Quit being a dumb ass.

Also, you are not factoring in the way that previous convictions play into the sentencing on the next conviction.

Whatever, dude. Are we still talking about misdemeanors? I've seen people with records longer than my arm, and they don't get any time for a misdemeanor.

For you to win this argument, you need to find a story about a guy who went to prison for his marijuana misdemeanor.

And I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm just saying it's rare. Like an albino duck.

Seven Machos said...

Croix -- I'm an Illinois attorney. I spent a semester working for the public defender in the felony drug division at 26th and California.

Next.

Saint Croix said...

So you had clients sentenced to prison for a misdemeanor pot conviction? Seriously?

Seven Machos said...

Croix -- The thing is that people get long records and there are guidelines that say that if someone is a severe repeat offender, that person is going to jail. This is particularly so for people who violate probation, as stupid people do at a shocking clip.

I'm just reporting what I've seen with my own eyes here.

Skyler said...

edutcher claimed: There was a reason why this stuff was outlawed, but nobody wants to think about that one.

The reason it was outlawed was because they didn't like Mexicans. That's how it started, as an anti-immigrant measure.

Saint Croix said...

Sarah Palin on marijuana:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/38660.html

I swear, she's always right.

AllenS said...

So we then have pot smoking legalized, which leads pot smokers to get the munchies, eat all kinda of junk food, grow big fat asses, then Michelle Obama comes along and wants to take over your life. A man just can't catch a break.

Bartender Cabbie said...

Right on the money Allen S

MarkW said...

There was a reason why this stuff was outlawed, but nobody wants to think about that one. It's easy declaring defeat, but nobody wants to consider the long-range effect on society. Healthy societies aren't full of junkies.

And if you replaced 'junkies' with 'alcoholics' why couldn't you have said *exactly* the same thing when the U.S. was considering repealing prohibition?

Nobody's going to become a 'junkie' on pot. As everybody knows, chronic pot abuse is much less damaging to health than alcoholism. But society wouldn't become 'filled' with potheads after decriminalization any more than it was filled with alcoholics after the end of prohibition.

The drug war *is* filling our jails, destroying futures, creating enormous profits for organized crime, and destroying our civil liberties. Can watch this video of a midnight SWAT team pot raid and say, yeah, this is the country I love, let's keep doing more of this stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b-67q0vlCw

Pogo said...

Meh-rijuana

Jennifer said...

How fascist do you have to be to want to protect laws you can only defend with "Oh don't worry, no one actually serves the time proscribed by law!"?

Lincolntf said...

Listen, if we're going to stop regulating/restricting marijuana for all these common sense and "individual freedom" reasons, then why do we not apply the same standards to other substances like salt, sugar, trans-fat, etc.
Why? Because it's not about freedom at all.
It's about a social agenda and raising revenue for the Gov't, like virtually everything else that gets attention these days.
I say we should decriminalize pot, but not at the same time we're criminalizing tobacco, soda and cheeseburgers.
If it's about the principle, then stick to the damned principle.

Tina Trent said...

Only that's not true. Not even a little bit.

The very few people in prison for pot virtually all have long records of other crimes -- drugs is often what they plead to. Other than them, the vast, vast, vast majority of people caught smoking pot get their cases dismissed, or probation at worst, about the same as public drunkeness -- if they're not up for other crimes, that is, or have previous records.

It takes a lot to end up in prison as a juvenile. And for many who do, it saves them from environments that literally kill.

Fact matter. They really do.

And anybody who stoops to letting himself be photographed yukking it up with a scumbag like Al Sharpton probably does have to revert to frothing the popular lie about mythical pot incarceration in order to pocket a few headlines.

rdkraus said...

William said...

The dirty little secret is that marijuana is not such a great high.


Ha Ha.

Yes, 150 million people in the US are wrong, and you're right.

LOL.

All talk. Nobody is legalizing pot. Idiots. It doesn't effect me, except for the loss of liberty aspect, of course.

AllenS said...

Realistically, you could still let the possession of pot be illegal, but require police to simply confiscate the drug and let the user walk. There is no reason for even a trip to the police station for possession to happen.

DLDJ

Don't Legalize, Don't Jail.

Lincolntf said...

AllenS said...

That's pretty much the law in MA. Up to an ounce (maybe a half-ounce?)you get a ticket ($100-ish), but simple confiscation is an option for the cop. It seems they omitted a bit of statutory language that made it necessary to prove ID if stopped on the street for weed. A few other quirks emerged, but none are coming back to me right now.
They changed the law about the same time I left MA, so I'm not sure how much implementation has matched expectations.
I do know they'll still do an occasional "crackdown" at those Hempfest things, probably to generate easy cash.

Michael said...

AllenS: I believe the approach you suggest a good one, and it could work for cocaine as well. Confiscate and destroy the drugs and let the people go with no charges and no publicity. If there are large amounts involved there are people in the drug trade who will levy a punishment (where are my drugs?) that will deter and severely limit the people with an appetite willing to participate.

Michael said...

rdkrause: William meant that grass is not cool, that it doesn't provide the kind of currently hip high that satisfies William and those with whom he associates. It is too middle class, too....

traditionalguy said...

The comments are all over the board for marijuana use as a crime vel non. But who comments on mandatory sentences for drug trade/possession with intent to distribute? Selling MJ is the lemon-aide stand for ghetto kids who want to make a few bucks to buy Nikes. The Atlanta falcons had a MJ user a QB, and there were problems, but it took PETA to get him a jail sentence for a first offense in another field of law. He is now straight thanks to Tony Dungee and Deon sanders fathering him. We may see his skills in a Super Bowl soon.

Original Mike said...

"criminalizing drugs just made them profitable for criminals."

Yep.

Comrade X said...

Healthy societies aren't full of junkies.

Weed junkies? For real dude?

Please kill me now.

roesch-voltaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
c3 said...

His stance on marijuana notwithstanding, I don't think Rev. Robertson's opinion is all that important. Here's a 2005 editorial by Byron York after Rev. Robertson suggested assassinating Hugo Chavez.

Robertson has and continues to get more media attention than his influence deserves.

But hey, don't we all love a
Man bites dog story!

Comrade X said...

Whodathunkit: The Thrilla from Wasilla, Mrs. USA, the grizzliest mama of them all is A-OK with folks getting stoned in the privacy of their own homes. “If somebody’s gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm,” former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said recently on FOX News, the fuzz should just leave them be.

are you to the right of Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson?

holdfast said...

IF nobody is getting jail time, why not just make possession a $200 fine - the cop writes the ticket on the spot. Save the lawyers and court costs. I agree with Palin that legalizing it at this point would send a message of implicit approval, but at the same time it's not the best use of law enforcement time.

roesch-voltaire said...

The rule of law should be all things in moderation. While at work, or driving nothing in moderation except your attention. You take the pleasure and pay the penalty for misuse but not for use --simple really--even Palin gets this one I have discovered.

Synova said...

Didn't Sarah Palin say she'd smoked pot? It was legal in Alaska at the time, or so I'd heard (when I heard she'd smoked it.)

Revenant said...

Healthy societies aren't full of junkies.

No society, healthy or unhealthy, is "full of junkies". It just doesn't happen.

Don said...

All will be forgiven if he endorses Gary Johnson.