(NaturalNews) Sending young people to prison for marijuana possession and use is not a good thing, said 700 Club founder Pat Robertson on a recent segment. Also founder of the Christian Coalition and former Republican candidate for President, Robertson expressed opposition to the current war on drugs, particularly as it pertains to marijuana use, saying that the government needs to reevaluate its position on marijuana and stop sending people to prison for it.
"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," expressed Robertson on his television news program. "Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That's not a good thing."
Since the segment first aired, Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) spokesman Chris Roslan told The Raw Story that Robertson "did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana," but instead 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."
Either way, Robertson says that Christian outreach ministries that support drug law reform have it right because their programs help save millions in public tax dollars and reduce the number of prisoners who return to jail for repeat offenses by helping them directly rather than just shipping them off to jail. And the programs could help save even more money and achieve better results if current drug laws were lifted.
"[M]andatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available," added Roslan. "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."
Other conservative-leaning, Christian groups have also expressed uncharacteristic views on marijuana, including the Council of Churches and Church IMPACT, both of which supported California's failed marijuana legalization initiative Proposition 13.