Pat Robertson: Pot should totally be legal

posted at 6:55 pm on March 8, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Quick: What do Pat Robertson and Ron Paul have in common? Yep, that’s right — they both think marijuana should be as legal as alcohol. Robertson made waves on the issue in the past when he said he thought marijuana-possession convictions shouldn’t end in mandatory prison sentences. He’s making waves again with the outright call to legalize the controlled substance.

Mr. Robertson’s support for legalizing pot appeared in a New York Times article published Thursday. His spokesman confirmed to the Associated Press that Mr. Robertson supports legalization with regulation. Mr. Robertson was not made available for an interview.

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Mr. Robertson was quoted by the newspaper as saying. “If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?”

Mr. Robertson said he “absolutely” supports ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state that would allow people older than 21 to possess a small amount of marijuana and allow for commercial pot sales. Both measures, if passed by voters, would place the states at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds.

This debate seems to have no direction to go but in the direction of legalization; as Robertson said elsewhere in the article, “This war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

As I wrote this morning about tobacco use, it’s not necessarily the government’s role to keep us from harming ourselves, even if it is the government’s role to keep us from physically harming others. A law that prevents driving under the influence of marijuana and other drug-related behaviors that could lead to the deprivation of another’s life or property but that allows private use of the drug doesn’t seem to be incompatible with conservatism to me. At the same time, I must not be quite as hip as the 81-year-old Robertson because some part of me still shies away from endorsing the idea of legalization entirely. This is just one of those hills I don’t want to die on — whether pot is legal or illegal doesn’t seem to matter much in the grand scheme of things to me.


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That fool has been talking like he’s on LSD for ages so why should a little pot bother him. An upcoming special on his religious scam TV show may be the selling of grace filled joints once it’s legal. Of course, since god always needs your financial aid, it will require a laying on of Pat’s hands on your wallet.

Annar on March 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM

The second sentence you quoted is clear: For most people, no.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

So is the third sentence:

About 10% of recreational users will develop problems serve enough to impair their work and relationships.

And the fourth sentence is describing habit formation, not addiction. Additionally, out of the many people I know who smoke marijuana, not one of them is addicted. And your claim that 10% of alcohol users get addicted is also bulls**t.

According to the Institute of Medicine’s 267-page report, fewer than 10 percent of those who try cannabis ever meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of “drug dependence” (based on DSM-III-R criteria). By contrast, the IOM reported that 32 percent of tobacco users, 23 percent of heroin users, 17 percent of cocaine users and 15 percent of alcohol users meet the criteria for “drug dependence.”

If you’re going to continue to throw around bulls**t statistics with no basis in reality, let me know, so I don’t bother responding other than to correct you.

MadisonConservative on March 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

It’s not addictive.

Not true.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 6:15 AM

Counter-Punch:

It is true. Marijuana (or THC if you want to split hairs) is not addictive.

Dante on March 9, 2012 at 7:42 AM

It’s not “addictive”. Period. Study after study has demonstrated same. As a “clinically certified master addictions forensic assessor and counselor”, I’d be happy to guide you errant ones into fact-based reality.

THE most deadly drugs from which to detox:
- Alcohol
- Barbiturates (like Phenobarbital, Seconal, Tuinal, etc.) that are used to control epileptic seizures – used in addition to Dilantin.
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Cocaine
- Etc.

Those NOT dangerous re: detoxing, include marijuana and opiates.
For some, marijuana may become a “psychological dependence”, but not a physical addiction.
Let’s face it, there are far too many users and former users who know that “Reefer Madness” was government propaganda much like “Cocaine Madness” and “Sex Madness”. You reluctant types should eschew 1930s cinema verité.
http://emol.org/movies/reefermadness/

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on March 9, 2012 at 10:41 AM

This could be a game-changer. Religious leaders – especially evangelical ones – were usually perceived as being firmly on the side against drug legalization. It’d probably take a big name like Pat Robertson to change some minds out there. And I agree… legalize it and treat it like alcohol.

“Genesis 1:12 – I have given you all the seed-bearing plants and herbs to use!” (an audio sample in Cypress Hill’s “Legalize It”)

TMOverbeck on March 9, 2012 at 10:52 AM

This is just one of those hills I don’t want to die on — whether pot is legal or illegal doesn’t seem to matter much in the grand scheme of things to me.

I understand your hesitation… however, if we allow the rights of others to be trampled, who will be there when our rights are trampled?

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
- pastor Martin Niemöller

This is why legalizing pot is as important to me as any other issue. It is ruining lives just as much as any other overreaching law, even if they are lives I don’t come into direct contact with on a regular basis. One prison term completely changes the course of a person’s life; if they weren’t a criminal before, they will be by the end of the sentence.

(do a search for a video: child’s dog shot and killed in marijuana raid)

Nephew Sam on March 9, 2012 at 11:26 AM

MadisonConservative on March 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

You are welcome to disagree, but it would be nice if you could do so without being obnoxious–you seem to take this quite personally. I’m certainly willing to agree that 15% may be closer to the proportion of people who become addicted to alcohol, although I’ve seen compelling evidence that it is closer to 10%. There are many figures out there, but the Institute of Medicine would certainly be credible. There is no question that alcohol addiction (not “habit formation”) is a problem.

You seem to be ignoring the headline for this article, which uses the term addictive, as well as the discussion of its similarity in body responses to other drugs. Your insistence on the term “habit formation” contradicts the author’s own choice of words, but his vocabulary seems adequate enough to have selected that term had he wanted it.

Additionally, as you kindly pointed out, the Institute of Medicine acknowledged that some marijuana users meet the clinical criteria for drug dependence. Whether it is 5%, 9%, 11%, or 15%, it simply refutes the claim that the substance is not addictive. Does everyone become addicted–clearly not, and no one has made that claim. But to claim that it is not addictive flies in the face of the source you quoted.

Karl Magnus on March 9, 2012 at 10:41 AM

My husband was the head of the substance abuse program for the Navy, so I’m actually pretty familiar with the various substances out there, and how problematic they are. Alcohol was the most significant problem they dealt with, without a doubt; however, none of that changes what I linked to.

You all are welcome to continue this discussion among yourselves–I haven’t seen any compelling refutation to the article I linked to. In any events, I’ve never been interested in long “debates” in which neither side finds the other side compelling–they seem an enormous waste of time to me. Thus it is with this one.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM

You are welcome to disagree, but it would be nice if you could do so without being obnoxious–you seem to take this quite personally. I’m certainly willing to agree that 15% may be closer to the proportion of people who become addicted to alcohol, although I’ve seen compelling evidence that it is closer to 10%. There are many figures out there, but the Institute of Medicine would certainly be credible. There is no question that alcohol addiction (not “habit formation”) is a problem.

Nothing personal about it. I get annoyed when people throw out statistics with no source or factual basis, regardless of whether it supports or attacks my side of the issue. If it was not your intention, and you had a source you assumed people were aware of, then I apologize for my candor. If it was your intention, my attitude stands.

You seem to be ignoring the headline for this article, which uses the term addictive, as well as the discussion of its similarity in body responses to other drugs. Your insistence on the term “habit formation” contradicts the author’s own choice of words, but his vocabulary seems adequate enough to have selected that term had he wanted it.

Your quotes around the phrase “habit formation” leads me to believe you truly don’t know what it is, or the difference. The distinction has been discussed in the medical community for decades.

Additionally, as you kindly pointed out, the Institute of Medicine acknowledged that some marijuana users meet the clinical criteria for drug dependence. Whether it is 5%, 9%, 11%, or 15%, it simply refutes the claim that the substance is not addictive. Does everyone become addicted–clearly not, and no one has made that claim. But to claim that it is not addictive flies in the face of the source you quoted.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM

They acknowledged that less than 10% met those criteria, so your examples are intellectually dishonest. Again, just because a minute percentage of people find a substance addictive does not prove that the substance itself is the cause of the addition. Addictive personalities often get addicted to multiple substances or activities, be they gambling, shopping, sex, overeating, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or anything else. Until you corner test groups full of non-addictive personalities, you don’t prove anything when a substance or activity shows only a minute addiction percentage.

MadisonConservative on March 9, 2012 at 12:09 PM

It’d be fun to have a Hot Gas poll on this issue.

The older I get, the more libertarian I must lean. I’m beginning to agree with Robertson on this one. This country would likely be wiser to treat marijuana the way it does beverage alcohol for a multitude of reasons.

TitularHead on March 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM

You might wish to go to the link I posted–it’s to an article by an addictions researcher at UCLA.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 9:47 AM

I frankly couldn’t care less what the researcher says. Marijuana is not addictive. This is a fact.

Dante on March 9, 2012 at 12:20 PM

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM

You can’t be serious: “I know someone who knows someone who … ”
I am very familiar with CDAAC – the military version of substance abuse issues. They’re morons who look for a way to discharge troops who submit a dirty UA – unless you jump through all of their draconian hoops of course.
Educated readers can see through your diaphanous rationale.
Gimme a Break

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on March 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM

good for Pat. I dont agree with much he says but I do with this. We really have to start being somewhat reasonable about marijuana.

snoopicus on March 9, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I frankly couldn’t care less what the researcher says.
Dante on March 9, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I’ll let that stand on its own.

MadisonConservative on March 9, 2012 at 12:09 PM

I do operate on the assumption that most people recognize a small, but not insignificant, proportion of people are addicted to alcohol. I did not believe it was necessary to cite a source, but understanding that you believe it is, I will keep that in mind in the future.

I am aware that the “habit formation” hypothesis (I use quotation marks to highlight it) became somewhat popular in the 1980s, however, the empirical research hasn’t been as supportive of it as some people believe. Obviously, there are people who believe it, and there are plenty who don’t (and I wish I could give a link, but most of the sources I’ve seen require a subscription to a database to access the material–I’m able to through my university’s library, but not everyone can). There have been attempts to integrate the concepts to form a coherent theory of what goes on with individuals. Nevertheless, the research I linked to supports marijuana’s effects in some individuals to be consistent with the nature of addictions (maladaptive and persistent behavior–of course, then we can debate whether “behavioral addictions” really qualify–and toss in the interactions of the receptor systems and need for increasing use to receive the same effects, and we’re going beyond simple habits).

Again, my point about percentages is that no one argues that alcohol is not addictive simply because more people use it without becoming addicted than those who do. Whether one must be susceptible physically (also debatable) doesn’t change the fact that it can be addictive (perhaps that choice of words is more palatable to some?). This would be true of a variety of substances–marijuana included.

And I don’t mean to be rude when I say that debates don’t interest me–they rarely change anyone’s mind and seem an exercise in futility. Perhaps I’ve explained myself more clearly now, perhaps not, but I doubt you’re any more convinced now, and I’m not convinced by the arguments against.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I’ll let that stand on its own.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Go right ahead and do that, and keep peddling an uninformed opinion. Meanwhile in the real world, where many of us have or had firsthand experience both in using and friends/acquaintances using, we can all count the number of marijuana addicts on less than one finger.

Dante on March 9, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I couldn’t agree more.. Kids are dropping like flies smoking that fake crap.. that’s enough reason alone. And anyone who says “we’ll its bad parenting” or “my kid wouldn’t do that” have a case of head in the butt.

Not to mention its none of you’re or the governments business to regulate to begin with.

I would take a stoner over a stumbling drunk any day of the week.

jomondo44 on March 9, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Dante on March 9, 2012 at 1:00 PM

So never mind what the Ph.D. at UCLA who does research on addictions, including the biochemical responses that occur, says–we should all bow to your anecdotal experience. Sorry, his credentials are more compelling than yours.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 1:58 PM

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Shall I procure a list of people with PhDs have to say about man-caused global warming? Shall I procure a list of people with PhDs who disagree? Yeah, PhDs have never gotten anything wrong or faked studies (autism and vaccines, anyone?). I wonder who funded this research..

But as I figured, you have absolutely no personal experience nor real life experience to serve as foundation for your stance.

Dante on March 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Nephew Sam on March 9, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Exactly.

Dante, AH_C, thanks for the hat tip.

GuitarMark on March 9, 2012 at 3:11 PM

See, it’s like this. One of the biggest secrets in the world -and one that hides in broad daylight, like “the Emperor Wears No Clothes” is that all the many problems Americans and humans are divided over are symptoms of one simple fundamental underlying issue: the issue of how we “ought” to deal with one another… and, as a corollary, the function of “government”.

Fundamentally, there are two sets of alternatives. Of course, people can attempt to combine the two… but it does not, cannot, and never does work.

We can deal with each other from a perspective/paradigm of the Golden Rule, mutual respect, voluntary relations, in which force/threats/violence is prohibited EXCEPT for objectively demonstrable rational lines that are crossed -that being, as the Objectivists have identitified, the initiation of force/threats/violence to impose ones will upon others… to create an unequal relationship where one person/group controls/coerces another -for “good intentions” or otherwise. (I would submit the difference is mostly if not entirely irrelevant -especially to the victims.)

Or, alternatively, we can have a system in which it is accepted and institutionalized that “some” have the “right” (under law) to impose their will on others.

The role of government is fundamentally different in each paradigm; in the former paradigm, government exists to prohibit force/violence/threats/coercion being used for reasons other than defense; in the latter, “government” attempts to articulate “the right way” to arbitrarily apply these contradicting principles… and “balance” them with the protection of peoples’ rights.

This is, of course, quite absurd, because there is no way to “balance” these things. “Government” exists to protect peoples’ rights… if it’s not doing that, it’s NOT “governmentf” at all, but merely institutionalized gang rule which is closer in both theory and reality to anarchy than to government.

Which is PRECISELY what we have right now.

The solution is to CONSISTENTLY restrict/limit the power/authority of government to its legitimate purpose of protecting EVERYONES’ rights (consistently).

Once we degenerate into arguing how consistently to protect citizens rights… well again, that’s precisely why we’re where we’re at.

And the whole “good intentions” schtick is total BS.

GuitarMark on March 9, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Apologies, everyone, my proofreader-wife wanted to read my comments and identied some boo-boos which were evidently understood despite their error(s), but which I apologize for not catching:

(from my

intial post)To be opposed to government not having the authority to restrict something it has no legitimate basis to restrict is NOT an endorsement of whatever that thing or things might be.

had a double-negative and was supposed to be:

To be opposed to government having the authority to restrict something it has no legitimate basis to restrict is NOT an endorsement of whatever that thing or things might be.

And

We ALL need to CONSISTENTLY impose any and all examples of “government” and law(s) doing the former -instead of the latter.

was supposed to be:

We ALL need to CONSISTENTLY oppose any and all examples of “government” and law(s) doing the former -instead of the latter.

GuitarMark on March 9, 2012 at 3:39 PM

To prove the point, from Reason:

On Wednesday night a New Orleans police officer shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old man, Wendell Allen, during a pot raid. Police, who had a search warrant, say they recovered about five ounces of marijuana, bags, digital scales, and a handgun from the house. They arrested two men for possession with intent to distribute. Allen, a former high school basketball star who was given a five-year suspended sentence for that offense last year, escaped charges this time around, what with being dead and all.

The New Orleans Police Department is investigating why Officer Josh Colclough shot Allen, whose mother told a local TV station:
His police title, that’s just a title. He’s still a man just like the next man that commits a murder. So my child’s crime should be treated the same if he’d gotten killed by a regular man.

Should be, but certainly won’t. A regular man who breaks into a house and kills someone, even accidentally, would be guilty of murder. But the drug laws authorize police officers to do things that otherwise would be considered burglary and armed robbery.

In this case, the cops charged into the house with guns drawn, knowingly endangering everyone inside:
“All the children said that when they came in and they heard the boom, they put guns in the children’s faces and asked them to back up. They proceeded upstairs and all they heard was a pow and Wendell screaming,” said [Crystal] Butler [Wendell Allen's aunt]. NOPD confirms that 5 children were inside the Gentilly home when the search warrant was executed ranging from ages 1 to 14.

“We have not been able to yet completely understand what exactly occurred,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said yesterday. No matter why Colclough fired his gun, the crucial error occurred long before he ran up the stairs, when legislators decided this was an appropriate way to deal with a plant they did not like.

Common Sense on March 9, 2012 at 4:19 PM

All I really want to know man is like…What would jesus do man? Thats all I’m saying.

Realclearblue on March 9, 2012 at 4:28 PM

First, I loathe and abhor stoners. I’m referring to the tie-dye tshirted, longhaired filthy hippie 4-20 stoner “culture”. Second, I don’t use illegal drugs nor misuse prescription drugs (last I heard you can’t get high from cholesterol medicine). Third, I’m about as far right conservative as you can get. When I took an online test of “Progressivism” vs Conservatism, I scored a 29 out of 1,000. A thousand points was Obama. I also got a 97% score on an online American Civics test.

But having said that, I am in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work in the 1920′s and Prohibition of drugs sure as hell hasn’t worked since the 1960′s. We’ve spent hundreds of billions on law enforcement, jails and equipment and what has it gotten us? Millions of people in jail for drug offenses, most of which were for simple possession – a few joints or even a roach in the car’s ashtray. Many more are in jail for committing crimes to get the money to buy expensive drugs.

Ask yourselves this question: criminals rob liquor stores all the time to get money to buy illegal drugs, but when have you heard of a criminal robbing a Walgreens or a CVS to buy liquor?

The two biggest roadblocks to legalizing or at least decriminalizing marijuana are the drug dealers and the law enforcement industry. They each have a vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal.

CatchAll on March 9, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Well, even Pat Robertson can be right once in awhile.

AshleyTKing on March 9, 2012 at 11:03 PM

So never mind what the Ph.D. at UCLA who does research on addictions, including the biochemical responses that occur, says–we should all bow to your anecdotal experience. Sorry, his credentials are more compelling than yours.

DrMagnolias on March 9, 2012 at 1:58 PM

(chuckle)
My personal and professional bona fides speak for themselves.
I would gladly debate any zealot re: marijuana, its utility, and harmlessness to society.
Geebus …
Reefer Madness was made in the 1930s and some people still refuse to get the Josef Göbells joke.
(sigh)
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on March 10, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Here’s an argument you might have less trouble with: Jesus drank alcohol, a far more addictive drug that contributes to more deaths/year than all illicit drugs combined.

DHChron on March 8, 2012 at 9:43 PM

I’ve read that the alcohol that Jesus and people of ancient times drank was not as potent, it was weaker.

I know Christians that drink, enjoy cigars or pipes, even opium back when it wasn’t “criminal. I even know of Christian polygamists and none of the aforementioned is a barrier to getting into heaven. It is culture that determines whether those “vices” are acceptable, not the Holy Scriptures.

AH_C on March 9, 2012 at 12:10 AM

Just because the Bible describes something or mentions it, does not necessarily mean God endorses it.

God’s intent was for one one and one woman, not one man married to several women, as ancient Middle East customs went.

God brought only one woman (wife) to Adam, not two or more.

See also passages such as Ephesians 5:31 (“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”), Ephesians 5:33 – the instructions imply one wife per man, as it does not mention “husband you are to love your WIVES as…”

IIRC, there are also instructions that males who lead in the church are to be married to but one wife.

The Bible forbids Christians from dabbling in stuff like marijuana (brief page on the topic: “Question: “What does the Bible say about doing drugs?”), so I’m not sure what to make of all the people in the thread saying things like, “But my best buddy Fred is a true blue believer, and he tokes a joint every Saturday.”

I’d also like to point out that just because someone says he or she is a Christian does not necessarily mean he or she really is one, see the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:21-23.

TigerPaw on March 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

That fool [Pat Robertson] has been talking like he’s on LSD for ages so why should a little pot bother him. An upcoming special on his religious scam TV show may be the selling of grace filled joints once it’s legal. Of course, since god always needs your financial aid, it will require a laying on of Pat’s hands on your wallet.

Annar on March 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I’ve watched Robertson’s show a lot (“The 700 Club”), and I enjoy the personal testimony interviews by people who were healed, or who had their lives turned around after coming to Christ. That part of the show is fine.

However, I am put off by the regular appeals for money on his show, and I don’t just mean the tele-thon things they do ever so often.

They regularly have stories on the show about people who were having financial struggles, but (according to the show), the moment those people began tithing (sending money to) Robertson’s show (the charity arm of it), all their financial problems supposedly vanished.

Robertson is also one of those Word of Faith / Prosperity Gospel types who seems to believe if any misfortune befalls you (poverty, sickness, etc), it’s your fault because you did not have enough faith, or you must have sinned and brought it on yourself in some way.

Contrary to what the Word of Faith personalities teach, Jesus Christ taught that the amount of you faith is pretty irrelevant; He taught it’s the object of your faith that counts (Luke 17:6).

Passages such as John 9:1-3 and Luke 13:3-5 say that sometimes bad things happens to people that is not due to their sin or to a lack of faith.

I have been troubled and extremely turned off by some of Robertson’s comments over the last few years, when he does this part on his show where he answers viewer’s questions.

For example, a few months ago, Robertson appeared to be excusing a man leaving his wife for a new woman, when the wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

He seemed to think it’s fine and peachy for a spouse to drop another one when one becomes sick.

I think he later apologized for that or tried to clear it up, but his apology was so muddled, I don’t think he explicitly said, “No, a man should not leave his wife when she is sick.”

His son, who I like a lot more, needs to take over the hosting of the show, and Pat should retire from it.

The female co-hosts on the show are also a lot more sensible and sensitive in the advice they give to people who write in with problems.

TigerPaw on March 10, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Nor am I saying that one should have to try something before they oppose it, but I do wish the debate were more fact-based and less fear-based.

MadisonConservative on March 8, 2012 at 8:26 PM

What a great idea. We could even give it a name. My suggestion is “science”. I know real study and debate are out of fashion these days, but I think they could have real purpose. What’ya say?

Squiggy on March 10, 2012 at 4:39 PM

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