Amendment 64, previously known as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, has been approved for the November ballot, and thus far, its backers include former Colorado House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann, the ACLU of Colorado and ex-New Mexico governor/Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. But it's latest supporter comes straight out of left -- make that far right -- field: televangelist Pat Robertson.
You read right. In an interview with the New York Times, Robertson, who's previously decried hefty sentences for marijuana offenses and called for decriminalizing pot, speaks about the issue in the same language as Amendment 64 proponent Mason Tvert. "I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol," he tells the Times, adding "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?"
Moreover, Robertson says he "absolutely" supports the Colorado ballot measure, as well as a similar one in Washington state.
Don't expect Robertson to stump for the amendment here. "I'm not a crusader," he says, presumably with a straight face.
In some ways, Robertson's announcement puts the Amendment 64 forces in an awkward position. While he may be with them on this issue, he's made incendiary comments about other an infinite variety of other topics for decades. Recall that after the 9/11 attacks, he said some of the blame for this horrific event should be heaped on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians and, yes, the ACLU. And in recent days, the Times notes that Robertson said Midwest tornado victims "could have avoided their fate by praying more."
Will Robertson's rep make his fondness for the effort to regulate weed like alcohol seem as fringey as some of his other beliefs? That'll be in the ear of the beholder. Yet his comments also demonstrate that backers of marijuana reform tend to be much more varied than critics imply.
Look below to see a 2010 video in which Robertson decries the drug war, especially as applied to marijuana, and a new clip about his pro-pot comments.
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More from our Marijuana archive: "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act: Mason Tvert on campaign's allies, challenges."