Television evangelist Pat Robertson has made inflammatory remarks in recent years that offend gays, Muslims and others, but a recent comment he made on his Christian Broadcasting Network was more notable for whom it pleased: people who want to see marijuana legalized.
“We’re locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana, and the next thing you know they’ve got 10 years,” the controversial pastor said on “The 700 Club” on Dec. 16, in a clip unearthed by bloggers this week. “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 and that kind of thing, I mean, it’s just, it’s costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people.”
I saw this when it was first aired. I think what he’s trying to get across is simple:
- The legal penalties for marijuana use are too stiff, and the prison sentences are too long.
- Throwing people in jail and disposing of the key is too harsh in many cases, and frequently counter-productive.
- Our incarceration rate is too high.
And, I might add, it’s not just our drug laws either. We have too many laws of all kinds. I’ve complained about our ridiculous incarceration rate before.
The sad part about this is that there has been no impetus about reducing the rate of criminalisation of all kinds of human activity in our country from either side of the political spectrum. The only difference is what kinds of activity each side wants to criminalise, and many times Congress ends up criminalising both. Maybe this kind of “across the aisle” movement will help things along.
Who knows? Someday you may start your favourite video on Fox News or elsewhere and, in the ad segment at the start, be greeted by “No stems, no seeds that you don’t need…”