Lame: Pat Robertson didn’t mean we should decriminalize marijuana, says CBN

posted at 5:37 pm on December 23, 2010 by Allahpundit

Well … yes, quite clearly he did mean that. But these are the sorts of games social cons have to play when it comes to drug laws, it seems. Even Palin, for all her boldness in taking righteous yet politically unpopular positions, didn’t dare come all the way out in support of decriminalization; the farthest she was willing to go was to suggest we’d benefit from less enforcement. Sometimes I wonder if this is the conservative equivalent of Obama’s stance on gay marriage, with Robertson’s spokesman now advising us not to believe our own eyes and ears lest that cause political trouble for his boss. To refresh your memory of what he said in the clip I posted yesterday:

“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,” Robertson continued. “These judges just say, they throw up their hands and say nothing we can do with these mandatory sentences. We’ve got to take a look at what we’re considering crimes and that’s one of ‘em.

“I’m … 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.”

And now comes the day-after spin from CBN:

Dr. Robertson did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana. He was advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws because mandatory drug sentences do harm to many young people who go to prison and come out as hardened criminals. He was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available. Dr. Robertson’s comments followed a CBN News story about a group of conservatives who have proven that faith-based rehabilitation for criminals has resulted in lower repeat offenders and saved the government millions of dollars. Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs.

Says Jesse Walker at Reason, “Unless Robertson wants to claim that he’s for ‘costing us a fortune’ and ‘ruining young people,’ that sounds like a call for decriminalization to me.” Me too, and since Robertson’s a law school grad, I assume he grasps the distinction between decriminalizing a behavior and merely changing the punishment. If he was all about the sentencing, he could have made that plain. He didn’t.

Exit question: If state legislatures won’t decriminalize marijuana, can juries do it for them? Exit answer: Sometimes!


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Decriminalization wouldn’t work anyway, only full legalization. The costs of the drug war stem from the fact that buyers and sellers can’t operate in the open. Get rid of the black market, problem solved. Making pot possession a misdemeanor instead of felony wouldn’t eliminate the drug war’s collateral damage.

Enrique on December 23, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Pat simply had the Old Person moment where they speak completely unfiltered. Anyone who has spent time around older folks know this happens sometimes.

I say Legalize it for Adults. Tax the heck out of it.

Criminalize the hell out of it for underage kids who get caught with it. Really crack down on the kids.

portlandon on December 23, 2010 at 5:46 PM

If you got the guts to say something on a hot button topic, have the guts not to backtrack on it when you take flak. You expect the flak before you say it and you take that into account.

keep the change on December 23, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Pat simply had the Old Person moment where they speak completely unfiltered. Anyone who has spent time around older folks know this happens sometimes.

Maybe.
Even as a fellow evangelical, I’m not a Robertson fan. But I love CBN News.

itsnotaboutme on December 23, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Shocking, AP wants to smoke weed in peace. He has way more in common with liberals than conservatives.

The Notorious G.O.P on December 23, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Allah, that NYT link requires a log in. Here is a link to another article probably about the same case.

In short, the DA couldn’t empanel a jury that would vote to convict on a small pot possession charge.

GnuBreed on December 23, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Shocking, AP wants to smoke weed in peace. He has way more in common with liberals than conservatives.

The Notorious G.O.P on December 23, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Just when I thought I was alone.

Thanks!

Cody1991 on December 23, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Pat’s looking really old. I hope he’s OK. He’s also old enough to say what’s on his mind without trimming. You’re better off having an unpopular opinion, Pat, than to be thought a transparent liar.

Mason on December 23, 2010 at 6:07 PM

I’ll go a step further legalize all drugs. How many years had we been around as a country before they made the first drug illegal? How did we survive without all becoming drug addicts?

DFCtomm on December 23, 2010 at 6:15 PM

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

maybe he just means the threshold should be higher. i.e. possessing a pound of marijuana (or whatever amount dealers are likely to have) should warrant prosecution, but just enough amount for an innocent smoke or two shouldn’t.

Palin’s position has always been clearer—she thinks decriminalization sends the wrong message, but as you note, she’s come out as not for stronger enforcement of “soft drug” laws.

novakyu on December 23, 2010 at 6:16 PM

If Robertson’s motivation is actually to help people who have trouble with drugs, then he’s only suggesting half measures. The logical endpoint to his basis for argument is the Portuguese model, which treats drug abuse as a health problem, not a law enforcement issue.

Over at Reason’s Hit and Run, where this is also a discussion topic, it’s been pointed out that the most staunchly hard core group against drug legalization are the cadres of suburban moms guarding their kids like. . .well, ‘mama grizzlies’, to borrow a term. They don’t seem to realize that no matter how much they shield their darling ones while at home, when they get old enough to go off by themselves in the world, the likelihood is that they’ll at some point come into contact with cannabis. Do those overprotective moms want their progeny’s entire lives trashed for what may very well be basically harmless experimentation with a rather innocuous substance? Because that’s the ‘lottery’ system we’ve got going for us these days with the drug policies that political correctness will not allow us to rationally revisit or even have a level headed discussion about modifying.

The examples of what I’m talking about will show up, I predict, in this very thread, with people tossing around erroneous ‘common wisdom’ or hyperventilated insults and ad hominem, instead of engaging in a pro and con discussion in a calm and tolerant manner.

Shots already in AP’s direction, with a “LIBERAL” hand grenade lobbed with abandon. . .

Thus the call. Identify yourselves, loonbats.

Wind Rider on December 23, 2010 at 6:25 PM

A little Cheech/Chong..Up on Smoke Musical Theme
==================================================

War – Low Rider

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLqyvyqQqW0

canopfor on December 23, 2010 at 6:26 PM

DFCtomm on December 23, 2010 at 6:15 PM

How long has crystal methamphetamine been around?

JannyMae on December 23, 2010 at 6:30 PM

Shots already in AP’s direction, with a “LIBERAL” hand grenade lobbed with abandon. . .

Thus the call. Identify yourselves, loonbats.

Wind Rider on December 23, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Wind Rider:Its almost Christmas,so here a little love,er,
grenade toss your way,and Merry Christmas—:)
=======================================

Ted Nugent – Love Grenade

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwiEmQRPGwk

canopfor on December 23, 2010 at 6:30 PM

So, this is “spin” but Allahpundit’s interpretation of Robertson’s comments that he was a “legalization” advocate weren’t spin?

Talk about “lame,” but I’ve come to expect that from AP.

JannyMae on December 23, 2010 at 6:33 PM

JannyMae on December 23, 2010 at 6:33 PM

As was pointed out in yesterday’s thread by both of us, Robertson never said what AP thinks he said. Robertson was calling for fair justice, i.e., let the crime fit the punishment as opposed to the current mandatory sentence for a simple possession.

But why let facts get in the way of ginned up outrage and comment bait!

Your uber Libertarian side is showing AP.

conservative pilgrim on December 23, 2010 at 6:47 PM

How long has crystal methamphetamine been around?

JannyMae on December 23, 2010 at 6:30 PM

1919. Just about all the drugs abused today were synthesized about 100 years ago. Abusing those drugs for recreation is what is more new.

Chrystal Meth was used by both the Allied and Axis military during WW II to help soldiers and airmen who had been gravely injured but were still in the heat of battle. For example, if you had been shot and were bleeding, and were piloting a plane, an tablet of meth is what might allow you to get your plane back home.

keep the change on December 23, 2010 at 6:52 PM

As was pointed out in yesterday’s thread by both of us,

Robertson never said what AP thinks he said. Robertson was calling for fair justice, i.e., let the crime fit the punishment as opposed to the current mandatory sentence for a simple possession.

But why let facts get in the way of ginned up outrage and comment bait!

Your uber Libertarian side is showing AP.

conservative pilgrim on December 23, 2010 at 6:47 PM

Uhh, here’s what Pat said. He said “criminalizing”, not reducing the punishment. Maybe he just had a Helen Thomas moment.

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

Jimbo3 on December 23, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Robertson isn’t backtracking anything, his motivation wasn’t legalizing weed, it was making money. From the post yesterday -

His co-host added that the success of religious-run dormitories for drug and alcohol cessation therapy present an “opportunity” for faith-based communities to lead the way on drug law reforms.

What he obviously wants is for the laws to send people to rehabs instead of jail, that way he can slap up a few shanties, call them rehabs and hit up all the people who watch his show for money for these “faith based” rehabs.

clearbluesky on December 23, 2010 at 6:58 PM

Robertson has become old, senile and irrelevant.

rplat on December 23, 2010 at 6:59 PM

I’m not a Robertson fan. But I love CBN News.

Stack Attack & the Brody File!

itsnotaboutme on December 23, 2010 at 7:11 PM

Socons are simply pathetic. It’s all about public posturing while banging the nanny behind closed doors.

No wonder they’ve been losing the culture war for 30 years.

rickyricardo on December 23, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Pat Robertson? It must be a REALLY slow day Allah.

bw222 on December 23, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Robertson is a good man who’s done many more righteous works than any of the dimwits here criticizing him.
Having watched him for years, I clearly understand what he meant to say.
Not decriminalizing it, but making the fines/seriousness of the crimes much smaller and saner.
I believe completely the so called ‘spin’ of the second day.

I believe guys like Robertson and take his advice rather than a guy of the likes that supported JOHN KERRY!!!! LOL

cjk on December 23, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Socons are simply pathetic.

rickyricardo on December 23, 2010 at 7:30 PM

And social liberals have gotten us a first-rate education system, among other untold riches. Getouttahere.

ddrintn on December 23, 2010 at 11:39 PM

Allahpundit seems to have read WAY more into what Robertson said than what Robertson clearly meant. As far as I could tell, he was saying that he does not see it as a worthwhile venture to send young people experimenting with drugs into prisons to hang out with hardened criminals for 10 years. Kind of the opposite of what would make sense as a rehabilitation program.

He only seemed to endorse decriminalizing small amounts of pot, or at least revisiting punishment methods, because the punishment was leading to a non-constructive result.

I think the CBN statement pretty accurately summed up what Robertson said. It was not “spin” or “lame”.

AP is usually spot on in giving a fair reading of quotes like this. Not sure what he was smoking this time.

willamettevalley on December 23, 2010 at 11:55 PM

clearbluesky on December 23, 2010 at 6:58 PM

You obviously don’t know anything about Pat Robertson. As cjk pointed out, Pat has done a great deal of good, and he didn’t bilk anyone doing it. He’s not necessarily my cup of tea, but that has nothing to do with his work.

The thing about Pat’s show is the set is very much a second home to him, and he spends a great deal of time with the people he works with. So on his show, he does what many of us do in our own homes: Say what he’s thinking at the time, which may or may not change as he gives it more thought. I suspect he’s like many conservatives who recognize the drug laws are problematic, but when it comes down to it, have a tough time with the idea of decriminalization.

My own belief is that drug laws should be left to the states, with the only federal drug laws being the ban of bringing drugs into the country. I see that as a part of national security.

DrMagnolias on December 24, 2010 at 5:22 AM

Socons are simply pathetic. It’s all about public posturing while banging the nanny behind closed doors.

The media likes to highlight Christians who are destructive hypocrites. Who, outside of Evangelical circles, had heard of Ted Haggard before he got caught with his pants down?

aengus on December 24, 2010 at 9:44 AM

It is just futher proof that Pat Robertson is so senile these days, he is easily three French Fries shy of a Happy Meal.

pilamaye on December 24, 2010 at 10:47 AM

DrMagnolias on December 24, 2010 at 5:22 AM

Yeah, actually i know quite a bit about him, but you keep telling yourself whatever you have to champ.

clearbluesky on December 24, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Well, “champ,” the only dog I have in the fight is I don’t believe in lying about people and smearing their characters so I can consider myself witty on the Internet. Apparently you believe you can say anything you want about a person if you don’t like him.

Incidentally, I actually know Pat. What about you, “champ”?

DrMagnolias on December 25, 2010 at 7:30 AM

Hey, that’s great. Next time you talk to Patty, ask him how he feels about a bunch of nuts who watch his crap on tv constantly and force their families to watch it along with them. And then ask him how he feels about those same nuts giving their money to his scam organization instead of buying a couple of Christmas presents for their kids because Patty assured them it’s all for god. You may know Patty, but i know those people. Oh, i’m sure you’ll say it’s not Patty’s fault because it never is with people like him is it? And he’ll surely give back all the money he’s scammed from those people won’t he?

And after you’ve done all that, ask your ol’ pal if he’ll forgo any federal funding for these rehabs he’s so hot for and that he won’t use them to beg for money. If he gives you those assurances and gives the money back to those he’s scammed, i’ll be more than happy to retract my comments, champ.

clearbluesky on December 25, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Actually, I did not say Pat was my “pal,” I said I know him. You seem expert at leaping to erroneous conclusions, particularly when earlier I stated he doesn’t happen to be my cup of tea. Regardless, do you really believe so prominent a figure as Pat Robertson would be able to operate a scam? You don’t think there are people who are just itching to nail him on something? You don’t know what you are talking about, and would much prefer dragging in “the children,” as the Left so often does, to bolster your fallacious assertions than actually learn about what Pat’s organizations do. He may still not be your cup of tea, but at least you would have the decency to disagree with him on something other than your imaginings. Champ.

DrMagnolias on December 25, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Yeah, that’s what i thought. With every comment you make you sound more and more like the nuts. And yeah, when i see these disciples of Pat telling their kids they’ll be spanked if they say watching the 700 Club is boring again, you bet i’m going to “drag them into it” whether you like it or not, champ.

clearbluesky on December 25, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Really crack down on the kids.

portlandon on December 23, 2010 at 5:46 PM

That won’t do bupkis so long as our legal system is badly overloaded, our jails horribly overcrowded, and the police departments so severely outnumbered by low-level lawbreakers.

We have to go after the suppliers before they hook enough kids on chemicals that we rot from the inside out. And that day is coming fast. When we’re losing some of the hard-core right on an issue as basic as fighting addictive poisons, cracking down on the end users isn’t going to work.

Dark-Star on December 25, 2010 at 8:21 PM