Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240</p>
Pat Robertson is the latest and maybe most surprising person to come out in support of legalizing marijuana. Last week on his show, "The 700 Club," the signature program on his Christian Broadcast Network, he spoke out passionately against locking people up for possession of marijuana and noted that it was costing us billions of dollars.
Then on Wednesday, in an interview with The New York Times, Robertson went even farther by saying that he not only supported legalizing marijuana but that he "absolutely" supports the Colorado and Washington State marijuana legalization ballot initiatives on the 2012 ballot.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance issued the following statement on the significance of Pat Robertson coming out for legalizing marijuana:
"Pat Robertson's clearly stated and well-reasoned comments throw a curve ball into the growing debate over legalizing marijuana. Pat Robertson is neither a liberal nor a libertarian. The millions of people who listen to and respect him are mostly conservatives, Republicans and older Americans – who, according to Gallup's latest poll, have been the least likely to support legalizing marijuana. His cogent arguments, and his willingness to speak out clearly on this issue, will prompt lots of people who have opposed legalization to think again.
"At least as significant is Pat Robertson's statement that he ‘absolutely' supports the marijuana legalization initiatives that will be on the ballot in Colorado and Washington State this November. His endorsement is certainly the most surprising and significant one by a national figure to date – and will surely give the campaigns in each state an important lift.
"Defenders of marijuana prohibition – both Democrats and Republicans – must be wondering if it's only a matter of time before theirs proves to be a lost cause. Americans under age 50 overwhelmingly favor legalizing marijuana. Some of the most respected elder statesmen in the world – from George Shultz and Paul Volcker in the United States to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and distinguished former presidents in Europe and Latin America – says it's time to move in that direction. During the past few weeks, a conservative ex-general who recently was elected president of Guatemala has put the issue firmly on the agenda of Latin American leaders. And now, lo and behold, evangelical leader Pat Robertson says he agrees too."