Pat Robertson echoes Texas candidate on marijuana

Pat Robertson, who sought the Republican nomination for president in 1988, believes that marijuana should be legalized, according to a New York Times news article published March 7, 2012.

Robertson spoke out the same week that PolitiFact Texas looked into U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes’ claim in a video advertisment that his challenger in the 2012 Democratic primary, Beto O’Rourke, wants to legalize drugs. We concluded that O’Rourke has called for lifting laws against marijuana, but not other drugs.

The Times quoted Robertson saying in an interview: "I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: This (federal) war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded."

According to a Fox News account, the religious broadcaster, who hosts "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network, earlier aired concern on his March 1 program about prison sentences given to individuals convicted of possessing marijuana.  

"I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance," Robertson said on the show. "The whole thing is crazy. We've said, 'Well, we're conservatives, we're tough on crime.' That's baloney."

And Reyes’ claim about O’Rourke? It’s Half True, we concluded.

O’Rourke advocated for marijuana to be legalized in a recent newspaper op-ed article and a book. O’Rourke also has called for national debate about allowing other narcotics, although he’s not said he already favors lifting legal prohibitions on them.

Campaign-trail footnote: O’Rourke told us in a telephone interview that he has not been telling voters that if elected, he’ll push for ending limits on marijuana. He said that is "not a priority of this community; it doesn’t reflect the desires of people I seek to represent as my constituents."