Marijuana legalization finds unlikely supporter
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahomans are as surprised as anyone at recent comments by conservative evangelical, Pat Robertson. Robertson first made statements in 2011 that seemed to support the legalization of marijuana.
During a taping of his show, The 700 Club, Robertson said, “We’re locking up people who take a couple of puffs of marijuana. The next thing they know they’ve got mandatory sentences of 10 years.”
Robertson is a proponent of eliminating mandatory sentencing for marijuana possession charges.
American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Ryan Kiesel was shocked by Robertson’s recent comments.
The Oklahoma Chapter of the ACLU is a long-time proponent of loosening marijuana statues.
Kiesel said, “The war on drugs has failed. It has failed to make us any safer. It’s actually made us less safe my criminalizing the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.”
Robertson said in a recent New York Times article, “If you follow the teaching of Christ, you know that Christ is a compassionate man and he would not condone the imprisoning of people for non-violent offenses.”
Oklahoma City attorney Josh Welch represents a mother of four young children who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling $30 of pot.
Patricia Spottedcrow has become the face of the legalization of marijuana movement in Oklahoma and across the country.
Welch said, “It’s a breath of fresh of fresh air when we see a very conservative religious leader like Pat Robertson, whom I disagree with on 99 percent of his views, take this position toward marijuana.”
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics unequivocally opposes any legislative efforts to legalize pot.
OBN spokesperson Mark Woodward believes any move toward legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to Oklahoma children.
“In one fell swoop to turn around and now say that that’s acceptable is very, very concerning and it’s disappointing. We need to do more to discourage drug use.”
Oklahoma City rocker Wayne Coyne seems to be leading the charge in Oklahoma City to loosen marijuana statues.
Coyne is the front man for the rock band, The Flaming Lips.
Coyne said, “There’s this sort of secret truth out there that everybody knows that pot is no big deal.”
Coyne believes there is little difference between smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol.
Robertson told the New York Times he has never smoked marijuana and has no plans to.
Coyne joked, “I would say, maybe we’ll all sit down and smoke a joint with Robertson and we’ll get to know him better.”
There have been a handful of bills in our state legislature to legalize marijuana over the years.
So far none of them have had much traction at the State Capitol.
Marijuana legalization supporters are planning a rally at the Capitol April 20 on the south steps.