March 30th, 2012
06:34 PM ET

Zakaria: Incarceration nation

Editor's Note: Tune in this Sunday at 10am or 1pm EST for Fareed Zakaria GPS. 

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Something caught my eye the other day: Pat Robertson, the high priest of the religious right, had some startling things to say about drugs.

"I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol," Mr. Robertson said in a recent interview. "I've never used marijuana and I don't intend to, but it's just one of those things that I think. This war on drugs just hasn't succeeded."

The reason Robertson is for legalizing marijuana is that it has created a prison problem in America that is well beyond what most Americans imagine.

"It's completely out of control," Mr. Robertson said. "Prisons are being overcrowded with juvenile offenders having to do with drugs. And the penalties - the maximums - some of them could get 10 years for possession of a joint of marijuana. It makes no sense at all."

Read: America needs a 2-page tax code.

He’s right. Here are the numbers: The total number of Americans under correctional supervision (prison, parole, etc.) is 7.1 million, more than the entire state of Massachusetts. Adam Gopnik writes in the New Yorker, "Over all, there are now more people under 'correctional supervision' in America...than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height."

No other country comes even close to our rates of incarceration. We have 760 prisoners per 100,000 people. Most European countries have one seventh that number (per capita, so it's adjusted for population). Even those on the high end of the global spectrum - Brazil and Poland - have only a quarter the number we do.

If you say this is some kind of enduring aspect of America's "Wild West" culture, you would be wrong. In 1980, our rates of incarceration were a quarter what they are now. What changed was the war on drugs and the mindless proliferation of laws that created criminal penalties for anything and everything. If you don’t believe me, listen to Pat Roberston again. Here's a quote:

"We here in America make up 5% of the world's population, but we make up 25% of jailed prisoners....We have now over 3,000 - the number must be might higher than that - but over 3,000 federal crimes, and every time the liberals pass a bill - I don't care what it involves - they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don't feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.... So we have the jails filled with people who are white collar criminals.

In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it's built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.

Read: Deterring Iran is the best option.

Why is this happening? Prisons are a big business. Most are privately run. They have powerful lobbyists and they have bought most state politicians. Meanwhile, we are bankrupting out states and creating a vast underclass of prisoners who will never be equipped for productive lives.

I never thought I'd say this, but God bless you, Pat Robertson.

This is not a scientific poll.

Tune in this Sunday at 10am or 1pm EST for Fareed Zakaria GPS.  For more of Fareed's Takes, click here.

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Topics: From Fareed • Law • United States

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soundoff (1,184 Responses)
  1. Linda Swisher

    Me, too. I will make a slight modification of what I thought I would never say: Regarding your view that the war on drugs has not worked and your view that we treat marijuana like liquor: God Bless You, Pat Robertson.

    March 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Charlie

      I never thought I would say this either but Pat Robertson is to be commended for taking this stand.

      March 31, 2012 at 1:23 am |
      • j. von hettlingen

        In many European countries, drug offenses would only justify a prison sentence if the offenders sell, smuggle or deal with drugs. Consumption is not an offense. Any one caught possessing a small amount might get away with a fine.

        March 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
      • Jose S.

        j. von

        Unlike many European countries, most SA countries will lock you up for 3 – 5 for possession of pot.

        I live in Ecuador. There are a few places along the beach where the cops turn their heads. Most all Ecuadorians find it to be taboo!

        March 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Jack

        Prohibition ended when the mob wars came to America's streets and the bloody price of keeping booze illegal became clear.

        The reason the same thing hasn't happened with marijuana is because almost all the dead bodies are in Mexico.

        Out of sight, out of mind.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • Iconoclast


        You are so right! A sad but true statement...AND pot being illegal creates more prisoners and prison is BIG BUSINESS!

        March 31, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
      • Adam W.

        You are 100% Correct.

        March 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
      • A.papa

        The United States has never had a war against drugs. They have declared a war against it's citizens. The sheer number of our friends and family behind bars proves this fact.

        March 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Well then, if you have had enough, go back to Syria, Libia, Iran, Lebanon...

        March 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
      • Nuno Lacerda

        Mr. Mandrake,

        I dont need to go to Syria, Libia, Iran or Lebanon, when I can have a coherent drug law in Netherlands, Germany, Swenden or Spain... Those countrys you mentioned have the opposite politicall point of view about alcohol – Its illegal only for social reasons. Even so, its absurd the difference bettwen alcohol and marijuana laws in US, when alcohol cause so much social and health problems. But this war on drugs is such a big business....

        April 2, 2012 at 9:14 am |
      • noteabags

        The first time I've ever agreed with Pat Robertson.

        April 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
      • JOE


        April 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • John Bullen

        Marijuana should be decriminalized but not legalized. There are presently no practical tests like there are for alcohol which would be able to determine if a person was impaired or merely had residual THC in the blood as a result of use during a concert a week previously if an accident happened in the workplace or while driving. This is not only an issue of excessive punishment for a "victim-less" crime. It also bleeds over into workplace safety, driver safely, PILOT safety, etc ad infinitum.

        April 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • d

        I agree with Zack, we have all the inmates and Mexico has a the dead civilians. We can either keep our citizens alive but in jail and Mexicans can keep getting killed in the drug trade OR, we can legalize pot, allow OUR farmers to grow it, OUR government to tax it, and OUR citizens to consume it. With the tax revenue taken in and the money saved from inmates, maybe we can start producing math and science literate children once again. And maybe, just maybe pay teachers what they deserve.

        April 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
      • Sheepleherder

        joe – if you ever get another date, leave your fly's at home.

        April 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • HumbleWun

        And you should hang yourself to free up some tax dollars

        April 3, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • Andrew

      Thank you Mr. Zakaria for expanding upon the conversation which is growing within our society, regarding the inhumane and draconian "War on Drugs". It is clear that our country is controlled by lobbyists at the expense of the citizenry. The time is now, to further this discussion and to advocate for serious change within our incarceration nation. End the "War on Drugs" it has been a complete and utter waste of our tax dollars and destroyed untold thousands possibly millions of lives.

      March 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
      • habibi

        Do you have any kind of reference for your statements.
        Can you back anything you said?

        March 31, 2012 at 11:56 am |
      • Tahir

        Do we need reference that Bush was president of USA, or crow is black, or there is water in sea, or sunrises in the east.

        March 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • scott

        The war on drugs has failed ... in more ways than we can imagine. Here is a link to an article that says global leaders agree this war is a failure.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
      • Chris

        Well said.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Ortega M

        Yes the war on drugs is a failure!

        Even South America is kicking the US Military out of their countries for chasing pot smugglers. Google Ecudador US Military drugs

        The primary reference to the US Military in EC was to cocaine. Not all true! I live in Ecuador and I totally agree with El Presidente Correa. And I am an American Citizen.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • seppe

        If the incarceration was a real one then maybe would have worked but since incarceration it's treaded as business then will never work,there are no concequence,it's more of a break from all the responsability, i.e. work/insurance bill /medical bill/utility bill/ taxes/ is a matter of fact every one else in the free sociaty pays that vacation like (incarceration)the way the law work is ,the enforcer want you to break it ,so they can keep the's that simple.and the jail house have every amenity you may like and plus, and it's all for free.. THE BIGEST INSULT HERE IS THAT THE LAW INFORCER THAT ARE ON PATROL ACT LIKE SCAVENGERS WITH THE ONES THAT OBEIDE THE LAW....

        March 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
      • Mark

        References? just how much medication are you on to see the war on drugs has been a miserable failure – likewise I too cannot imagine agreeing (ever) with Robertson, but i must, his words are correct.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Tahir, for a liar like you, you need to reference everything.
        Amuzing that your islamist rhetoric is in every discussion.
        You spew poison about America and expect to be believed.
        Buth then, as a moslem, Allah has given you permission to lie and cheat:
        Ishaq:519 "Hajjaj said to the Apostle, 'I have money scattered among the Meccan merchants, so give me permission to go and get it.' Having got Muhammad's permission, he said, 'I must tell lies.' The Apostle said, 'Tell them.'"
        Qur'an 8:58 "If you apprehend treachery from a people with whom you have a treaty, retaliate by breaking off relations with them."
        Qur'an 47:24 "Do they not understand the Qur'an? Nay, on the hearts there are locks preventing them from understanding."
        Ishaq:548 "By Allah, the black mass has spread. Abu Bakr said, 'There is not much honesty among people nowadays.'"
        Qur'an 5:41 "Whomever Allah wants to deceive you cannot help. Allah does not want them to know the truth because he intends to disgrace them and then torture them."
        Qur'an 5:101 "Believers! Do not ask questions about things which if made plain and declared to you, may vex you, causing you trouble."
        Qur'an 5:102 "Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account they lost their faith and became disbelievers."
        Ishaq:567 "Muhammad informed Umar [the second Caliph], and he called the Prophet a liar."

        March 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
      • KQ

        Tahir didn't say anything bad. He was being sarcastic. I pity you for being so full of hate.

        March 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
      • Eumir

        Frankly Habibi.... this is for commentary and Andrew does NOT need to give your snobby butt a reference. Please kill yourself.

        March 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Yeah! Ok-sure thing!

        March 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
      • RC8888

        If I'm not mistaken, some areas of the world have a low rate of imprisonment for drug related crimes because they execute offenders.

        March 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
      • Aziz

        Eumir, habibji, are you pregnant again, you know you get cranky when you are pregnant.

        March 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • bark

        RC8888, you are mistaken. Some countries have a low rate of imprisonment because they are DICATORSHIPS.

        March 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
      • Genghis Khan

        @Lionel Mandrake
        Like other Abrahamic Religions, Islam emphasizes the virtue of honesty.
        You have not quoted any verse from the Quran that orders Muslims to lie?

        Any examples of Muhammad asking any of his followers to lie are ALL related to situations involving an enemy combatant in a state of conflict. Lying during war is totally acceptable everywhere in the world, because its better to save a life, save YOUR life! then to put yourself or someone else in harm's way just for the sake of being truthful. Such lying even has a technical name in the Islamic religion, Taqiya, "lying under duress (of war)".

        A direct quote where the Prophet (or the Quran) encouraged his followers to lie in business, or in their personal affairs or in public affairs of everyday life would be convincing than the mumbo jumbo you have obviously cut and past off some far-right christian website.

        April 1, 2012 at 2:21 am |
      • Tahir

        Lionel Mandrake
        You have bombed Iraq and killed millions and still claim that you did that in love of Iraqi people for benefit of Iraq. if I wrote something against your will then you say that I hate America. Is this American way of justice?

        April 1, 2012 at 7:49 am |
      • Patrick

        I love the smell of BS in the morning.
        Boo Hoo Hooo Hoooooo
        Start by telling the truth, stop the hate against Jews, Christians, Shias...

        April 1, 2012 at 8:14 am |
      • Aimee

        I agree with you, it is time for a change. Our human rights have been taken away in this county. It now appears to only be about the politians money and corruption. It certainaly has nothing to do with morals, and human kindness. The goverment is destroying our young people it must come to a stop.

        April 1, 2012 at 9:15 am |
      • scie

        Yes, I agree. I will go further just as I already wrote when I posted this video to my group to share, and i quote:

        'The subject of this message is a question that gets in my mind after watching this show, "How to stop our prison population to getting ever larger?" I voted yes, to legalize marijuana and put a stop to a reason for incarcerating Americans from inhaling this addicting drugs. Treat it like a cigarette, the allure of which is now dying since a generations of users are now losing their lives in asthma, lung emphesyma, cancer, heart attacks and other hosts of ailness. If what will take is for these drug users to die in similar fashion before they stop inhaling marijuan, like free market, so let it be. USERS BEWARE! SHOULD BE THE RULE AND NOT GETTING IN JAIL. Someone has to support the jail system and it is us, the tax payers. Private profit takers have seen the potential for them....and they are now paying lobbyists to protect and enlarge their interest if Congress will continue with criminalizing the use of drugs. This is my position: to put drug lords out of business and free our prison cells of drug offenders.'sc

        April 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
      • HPNIII

        I support legalization but from a different point of view. This is America, remember the Free Nation what you consume in your body is your business, it is okay to have laws on how you behave, but if you can smoke pot in your home and behave yourself who am I to tell you you can't.

        April 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
      • Dhillon

        I don't know why they come up with fancy names "lobbyists" why don't call it "Legal corruption/bribery"
        I think if they legalize "marijuana" then big corporations that sell fancy liquor will go out of business. marijuana is natural drug and may be it is less harmful than regular alcohol being sold. Guys, at the end of the day it is pure business decision/deal.

        April 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • Jane Doe

        I did ten years in prison. I went in as a person who shot someone who beat me up for ten years and then tried to strangle our daughter two times. That happened in 1985. I have never had one moment where I feel guilty of a crime. I'm still alive. My children are still alive. It was worth the ten years in prison. But here are the consequences to our society. I will never pay another penny of taxes to our society. I will not work to pay taxes that pay the correction officers that treated me so badly. I just exist until my parole is over (getting there!!!) and then I'll move to another country. I think this probably happens to all incarcerated people. You get to hate the society that locked you up. I'm actually going to write a book telling it like it really is in prison.

        April 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
      • N

        So what are we gonna do about it? These bought and paid for law makers are never gonna legalize it. Its not even a topic that will come up in the presidential elections. Think of all the money the government could make taxing it? Hell, let the government monopolize it and sell it out of state run stores like some states do with liquor. Do you think more than a handful of people in Washington don't know that? They don't care.

        April 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
      • loveit

        The article may be about the prison system, but that's not the lobby that keeps pot illegal, it's the big pharmacuetical companies that pay the out to lawmakers. If pot is legal who needs Valium? Or Xanax? Most Americans run off uber exspensive anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. Legalize marijuana and a huge percentage will make the swap, leaving companies to be forced into producing and researching treatments that are geared towards treatment of REAL ailments, not imaginary ones.

        May 18, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • PJ

      Show me ONE person who has been arrested for killing someone stoned on marijuana! People who are stoned sit and stare and run to the fridge.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
      • Get

        Stoned on marijuana, maybe not. However, stoned on Heroin, Meth, PCP, Cocaine, etc... YES! I think "War on Drugs" is a ridiculous term, because as long as there are users, there will be manufacturors, distributors, and retailers. And guess what, legal drugs (i.e. Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin) are just as lethal, addictive and destructive as their street-level counterparts. People have this misconception that since they are produced in a regulated and legit lab, they are safe to consume. For those who scream "legalize everything", google oxycontin and read some of the stories regarding its abuse, particularly among young adults. And for those who think that by making everything legal, the users will simply kill themselves off faster, that's easy to say until they become someone you know and love, i.e. your wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter!!

        March 31, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
      • ewrgdfgdf

        Considering that 100's of millions of people smoke weed then i would say chances are many people "Stoned" on marijuana have killed someone. Marijuana isnt just some innocent drug. IT causes many psychologial problems and phyusical problems. Intead of reading High Times read actual research.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • MC

        "Considering that 100's of millions of people smoke weed then i would say chances are many people "Stoned" on marijuana have killed someone."

        Good god, another half-wit heard from. Aside from the fact that you can cite no such case, you admit yourself that you only feel that way because of the huge number of people who have done it. You might as well ban coffee, because somebody has killed someone high on caffeine. Or milk because someone surely has killed someone after having some.

        Seriously, are you so spectacularly stupid that you actual reason that way?

        March 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • Truus Teeuwissen

        I love your comment. right on!!!!

        March 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
      • stoicismrefined


        Considering that 100's of millions of people smoke weed then i would say chances are many people "Stoned" on marijuana have killed someone. Marijuana isnt just some innocent drug. IT causes many psychologial problems and phyusical problems. Intead of reading High Times read actual research.

        How about you try smoking a joint or two or five and research it yourself instead of relying on a biased study.

        According to the logic that you and your kind use about Marijuana (see: gateway drug).. the same argument can be used about drinking water.

        Eventually you want to drink something more like juice.. which leads to drinking coffee or caffeinated sodas.. and that leads to beer and liquor... and eventually it goes to smoking weed because it's cheaper and safer than liquor. Wait.. from there you might do coke or meth or heroine or LSD. All because you dared to drink water in the first place.

        And before the trolls start.. that last paragraph was sarcasm.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • dustin

        Right on I am a southern Baptist Preacher and have never been called by a church member regarding a spouse being high. On the other hand the abuse and incidents involving alcohol and other more harsh drugs takes more of my time than any other aspect of my time in the ministry.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • Drug War

        Most people in this country that kill someone else, or themselves, or both, are messed up on PRESCRIPTION drugs.

        The real war on drugs should be directed against the pharmaceutical companies.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
      • JM

        I don't believe marijuana is not being legalized because it can physically harm people. Marijuana is in its own separate class similar to alcohol. I am sure if statistically see who uses the drug are typically those who have currently have no motivation to their education or their career. This is another side to look at here. I think it is already an issue among too many teenagers. I have wondered though, is the drug causing this effect or is the effect causing the usage of the drug. I think marijuana is just a stage in life most kids go through and grow out of it. Its obviously not physically harmful, but socially it can still have an effect. It is a risk.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
      • dapacoba

        Have you ever even tried pot??? It does not cause all the things you say it just turns you into a couch potato and gives you the munchies.. I smoked a lot for years in my adolecence and I have no lingering problems, nor have I ever regularly used any other drugs.. It is not AT ALL physically adictive (I decided one day to quit and succeded from that day on I haven't touched it).. I don't know where you get your information but it's flat out WRONG. Alcohol which is legal, is FAR worse than marijuana.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • Doodlebug2222

        The day we open the door to legalizing pot is the day other drugs will redesign themselves to fit the same criteria, so they may also enter. You can't say 'just this one' – 'and this one only'. You have to predefine, and allow all that echo that, to enter also. My life, was destroyed by two persons that either were high on pot, or drunk. And day after day, I sat there, hungry, cold – sufffering, and they blamed their habits – not themselves. They blamed their stress, their lack of funds, they blamed ... everyone. Me? I blamed – them. Then I stupidly married a pot head, who also boozed it up. And I started wondering, is there anyone left that does not? I do not. I do not because, the thought of causing my children the same amount of pain I was caused, so I could indulge, so I could have fun, so I could do what I want... yeah what I want... I just cannot hurt them like that. That type of pain, lasts... and lives alongside the so very few good memories I had. So sure, go do what you want – get high, get boozed up – but if you do, please, aleast have the guts to see the truth in how it makes your children feel.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • NC

        I supposed there have been many killed who were stoned on marijuana. It's those who are stoned on marijuana that have no motivation to kill anyone. Sounds like you might need to light up another one:-)

        March 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • John

        I guess my question is how if its legalized will we address the stoned people driver and having accidents? You know that will go up as usage goes up because of its easy availability. You may save money on drug enforcement. But you will just spend it on regulations for it. Distribution, passing additional DUI laws addressing it. People think this will be far easier done then it actually will be and not without risks.

        March 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
      • Michael P

        @ewrgdfgdf PLEASE provide a single source proving ANYTHING you just mentioned.

        March 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • tacc2

        Get: You, like a lot of people have failed to really think through legalization. You say people have a misconception about legal drugs being safe. This is completely false. No one thinks that a drug is safe simply because it's legal. Everyone and their mother knows that prescription drugs can be dangerous. Secondly, you say the people calling for the legalization of everything say something along the .lines of, "Let the users OD". You, and anyone who thinks that are under the false assumption that keeping drugs illegal prevents people from getting them. NEWS FLASH: Anyone who wants to do drugs ALREADY DOES THEM! They aren't hard to get! Prohibition has almost NO EFFECT on availability. All having them illegal does is ensure that unscrupulous people sell drugs of unknown quality and content to anyone who asks, including children. If everything were legal, these drugs would be much safer as they would be manufactured to quality standards. The users would know the potency, as it wouldn't change between batches, and many lives would be saved. Also, if drugs were legal it would be much easier to reach out to the addicts and offer help and legal outlets would not sell to kids.

        April 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
      • TheSchmaltz

        John, DWI covers more than alcohol. We might need another test to determine acceptable levels, but the existing laws cover it.

        April 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • dirka dirka

        THIS IS A COMMENT FROM INSIDE THE US. . . there are many countries that have "enlightened" drug policies save the money you spend fighting the "pot war" and do something with it that actually benefits someone. there is not one single person who's life is made better by marijuana prohibitions.

        April 7, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • ryan

      if marijuana were legalized and regulated (taxed), us citizens would benefit from the sale and profits. now, it's cartels, mafia and dealers.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • meemee

        The Mafia went "legit" once Prohibition was over. You actually think that people who aren't already in control of the politics and control of illegal drugs won't be if we make consuming them legal? How naive are you?

        March 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • meemee

        There are other big problems with marijuana legalization, such as quality control, problems with fungus infestations, and an huge legal cost that will come with legalization, FDA costs, etc. Just so some people can get high and waste their time.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • dave/Texas

        there is no way that the government can put a tax on marijuana because it is to readily available. If you think about it, a person can grow all they want because seeds are everywhere. How many of you have ever seen a Tobacco seed? anyone? Nope, thats why they tax it, because its not easy to grow and you cant just go get a seed.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • MC

        meemee could you possibly be a bigger imbecile? The mafia went legit? Seriously, you are one remarkably stupid individual. As for all these made-up "problems" with legalization, you have no clue what you're babbling about. They simply don't exist. Not in countries where pot is legal. Not in the parts of the country where it is effectively legal now. You really are a gaseous dolt.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
      • JamieIRL

        @meemee, even if the gangs, cartels, dealers, and whoever else who currently control the drug trade WERE to continue to be the ones controlling the drug trade after marijuana were legalized, they'd be subject to laws and regulations. They also wouldn't be killing each other because they can simply call the police instead of having to police themselves if someone tries to rob or kill them. As for the "cost" that you mention, you could say that about any product being sold, and fungal infestations? Again, you could say that about any vegetation being sold.

        The fact is this; it's a highly sought after product and it's a big business. If it weren't a big business then people wouldn't be risking incarceration and/or death to sell it. This business needs to be in the hands of legitimate organizations, not gun touting dealers, gangs, and whoever else. The consumer is buying something that is considerably less harmful than alcohol and shouldn't be subject to having to buy from sketchy people or potentially getting a fine, jail time, or any punishment what so ever. It's BS, everyone knows that, and we need to get on the right side of history sooner than later.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • JamieIRL

        @dave/Texas You could say that right now there is no reason for drug dealers to sell marijuana because everyone can just grow it, yet here we sit in a nation where weed is sold eeevvvveerrrryyywwhhheeerreee. Even people who can legally grow marijuana for their own personal use as a medicine still go to dispensaries where they are available. It's quite obvious that marijuana can indeed be taxed, without question.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • bark

        Not only that, Ryan, the price would go down. Tobacco companies, beer and liquor manufacturers, and the pharmaceutical industry control our legal poisons. The reason marijuana isnt legal is because big business hasnt found out a way to control its manufacture and distribution. If they can, then marijuana will become legal.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • RichzCatz

        The only reason prison can be profitable is when it's filled with pot-heads then yon staff with min-wage babysitters, Incarceration of professional criminals takes professional staff.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • Rob from NY

        dave/texas – google 'tobacco seeds' before you make some unsupported statement that you cannot buy them – they're available, and from some sites they're even free.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • dave/Texas

        JaimeIRL- actually no, its not obvious. Your forgetting that if it is legalized, then all these people who grow there own will double, triple, and quadruple in number. The black market for it will increase tenfold and the only thing the government will be able to do about it is to make there product bigger and badder, which will cause growers to do the same and so on. Instead of seeing huge corn and wheat fields, there will be nothing but vast fields of marijuana across the country grown by good ole boys that have a green thumb and a bachelors in science AKA the dispensories. The black market would put them to shame with there own at cheaper prices. Im not saying that we should not legalize it, Im saying that the government will never allow because they know they will not make all the money that people claim they would. So many high up people would lose all the money they make and give to the government. It would be nice though to go to the gas station and bye a 12 pack and pack of joints.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
      • dabble53

        Any treatment of mj that is different from alcohol (a drug) or tobacco (many drugs) is purely hypocritical and/or the result of greedy bribery (mostly to the politicians)

        March 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
      • Glenn

        This country has gone through the same conversations with alcohol in the past, and many spent time in prison when now you can get it at 7-11, the only reason they don't legalize it is because they make more money from enforcement and incarceration, also they don't have a way to test and see if you are impaired to drive...

        March 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm |


        April 1, 2012 at 12:28 am |
      • tacc2

        meemee: So what you're saying is it's better to leave cannabis illegal where these same problems exist, but there is no control whatsoever over them? Everyone who wants to use drugs already does! I can't reiterate this enough. Prohibition has NO EFFECT on availability! Why wouldn't you want the FDA to make sure there isn't fungus and other adulterants in the drugs people use? It would make them safer.

        April 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
      • tacc2

        OVIDIOGARZA: We should be the first to legalize as we were the ones who pushed prohibition on the other countries of the world. Fact: Anyone who wants to use drugs already does. Prohibition has NO EFFECT on availability. Why can't you people see this?

        April 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • Lisa

        People need to be educated on the many uses of the cannibis plant, every single part of it can be turned into something useful, from the buds to the leaf to the stalk.Our forefathers in America grew it on their farms,they would keep some of the buds for their leisure,and the rest was sold to make commercial goods,from rope to paper to textiles. You can find out these facts for yourself by doing an online search;ielook up George Washington and hemp and see what YOU find. I have a companion who has used this as medication for many years, it helped him to overcome Hep-c,and allowed him to live years longer than docs expected,because of the Hep-c, which was he got while being a guinea pig for Uncle Sam,he cannot processes any pharmacuetical drugs due to the damage done to his liver.,Medical MJ has been a godsend.You all should read the book, Marijuana is Safer so why are we driving people to drink.

        April 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • JOE


      March 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • longtooth

        Thanks, Joe. I needed a laugh!

        March 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • robert

        smell like canned tuna

        March 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • stinky Joe

        Joe, do you get stinky when you get excited? Take a shower first. She will then find you tolerable. Nobody goes down on a dirty dude.

        April 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
      • ghost

        Joe, is that a maggot crawling out your nose?

        April 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Weldon Gebhard

      We are a nation of Psyciatrists that think that everybody can be "fixed". "The Shrinking of a Nation" book written several years ago.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Weldon Gebhard

      We are a nation of Psyciatrists that think everybody can be "fixed".

      March 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
      • Alex

        including your spelling lol.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • meemee

      Yeah, like wow, the two cool old men, Pat Robertson and Ron Paul. They know a doped up populace is easier to control.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • Joe K

        We already have a "doped up" populace. It's just most of it is legally pushed on us by pharmaceutical companies. How many people are on meds these days. Plus, almost all of these legal drugs are far worse than marijuana. Big pharma can't control marijuana, and would have to compete with it, so they fight its legalization.

        March 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
      • meemee

        Just because we have a problem with legal drugs doesn't mean we ought to have more and with dubious and very limited benefits in a few medical conditions. I find it very interesting, the sort of people who claim to need pot medically and the people who think they don't need anything but a GED to dispense it at "clinics." It is well established that pot causes psychological disorders. I already posted about the cost of regulating marijuana legally and all the problems with quality control, etc. All this because some people want to get high and stare into space, and binge feed.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • J

        I could care less if its sold retail, but if I'm at my house, I should be able to grow as much weed as a I want. Alcohol is so much more destructive than weed. You obviously haven't smoked it otherwise you wouldn't make such ridiculous statements. I'd like to see ALLL the research that shows the prevailing psychological effects that weed has on people. What is it one article? Yea that proves it.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • us1776

        meemee, you're a total m o r o n.

        Just sayin'.


        March 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
      • gnan

        You are retarded

        March 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • rdeleys

        @meemee - And just what do you think the cost of alcohol is to society in lost productivity, deaths and injuries, broken families, and alcoholism. Alcohol is a far more dangerous 'drug' than weed.

        March 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • just wondering

      if even a broken clock is right twice a day, I guess Robertson has one coming.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • dustin

        memme you are a moron there is no evidence anywhere that marijuana has any bad side effects. Whatever you have read is government propganda. the only effect marijuana has on an individual is occasional bouts of laziness. but statistically speaking that is the number one cause of heart disease amongst middle aged women who wont get off there butts and do anything. instead crying about a gender nutrual society that still insists that men do all the hard work and get yelled at by moron momen like you who one dont study and two argue to cover up your obvious lack of ability to get beyond the lies this government sells all in the name of making more money not for me but for them

        March 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Dustin – it is very difficult to accept you as the self-professed "pot-head" because of your irrational agression towards women.
        Didi you at least respect your mother?

        March 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Tonic

      I agree we should legalize marijuana and also believe one of the big differences between the US and other nations mentioned is the ability to obtain and use firearms as well as a lack of proper investment in early childhood and lifelong education for all in terms of some major systemic issues leading to a high rate of inmates.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • Bob

        If access to firearms caused crime then all of Switzerland would be in prison

        March 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
      • OrionStyles

        No, the laws are deliberately targeting certain demographics (not racial demographics) to sustain incarceration.

        There are 2 problems.
        1: More law and order rhetoric during election campaigns results in more unnecessary criminal laws
        2: Privatized jail system: Always need more product to maintain profits, and the product is people in jail

        The fact that we know incarceration does nothing to prevent crime, yet social programs are proven to prevent crime should be the first indication that this is about money.

        March 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • cja

        Private ownership of guns is completely banned in Mexico so of course there is no crime in Mexico.

        April 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • Megan Grawe

        Let me guess! would trust the governmet to do this? NOT!!! ...LOL

        April 5, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • jstout5111

      Unlike alcohol, I have never heard of a single instance of "marijuana poisoning" or "binge smoking."

      March 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
      • Rob

        That's because its physically impossible for anyone to smoke/ingest the amount of "pot" it would take to kill a human. It simply CAN'T happen. As for "binge smoking"? Anyone who has spent any time at all in their lives smoking will know, once you smoke a certain amount, you stop getting high.. you reach your peak which usually leads to the smoker getting sleepy.

        April 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • bark

      Pat Robertson blames liberals for this problem, both sides of Congress are responsible. Here in Arizona, illegal aliens are thrown into a private prison at $200 a night. Why not just drive them back across the border immediately and save the taxpayer $200? Governor Jan Brewer's election supervisor is a lobbyist for private prisons. Many private prison owners are staunch conservatives, Robertson doesn't mention that.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Can you reference your statement?
        Or did you pull it out of your hiney?

        March 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Brian

      While I agree the war on drugs is a failure, the article cherry picks Robertson's comments. The last quote is the crux of his position. It is the liberals sending white collar criminals to jail that are to blame for the out of control prison system. His comments are a thinly veiled plea for deregulation and decriminalization of the financial and corporate sector. Make no mistake, he could care less that the prison population is overwhelmingly minorities. His concern is with his white collar corporate backers who might end up in jail for embezzling money, committing fraud or destroying the environment.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • fofotavour

        While reading others comments, I did not see anyone pointing out what I too saw Brian.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • bark

        Wrong again, Brian!!! Republican DA Rudy Giuliani sent white collar criminal Leona Helmsley to jail. The Republican DA of New York put Martha Stewart in jail. Both Republicans and Democrats have created this mess. Do your research before u post.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Glenn

      As a Christian I have always said God Bless Pat Robertson, but I am glad to see that he understands and is taking this position because I have always felt that pot is actually safer than alcohol, and the war on drugs as well as the prison system is big business, we are sending people to prison that shouldn't be there, legalize it and regulate it just like alcohol. I don't use it but I don't want our citizens in prison for using it either.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        When people identify themselves as belonging to one religion or race or nationality, they usually are lying.
        Are you lying Glenn?

        March 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
      • Glenn

        I don't know if what you say is true, but I know that what I said is true. I don't usually express my feelings in a public forum but I do feel there is a problem in this country and something needs to change...

        March 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake


        March 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • fofotavour

      This is really interesting how Mr. Robertson started by criticizing the system for criminalizing the drug users, yet somehow he ended up attacking the liberals for passing laws that involves the white color criminal. People that their acts has a dire effect on all of us. The beauty of this is that only a religious right winger can change the rule of cause and effect.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • Scott2

        I agree on the white color crime issue. I think too many people go to jail for white color crime. I think they should be stripped financially, but I don't see how putting low level white crime offenders in jail with violent offenders is justice. I believe that some white color criminals (like Madoff) belong in jail – I just think some shouldn't. Our whole criminal system needs to be revamped.

        April 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • J-Dog

      Did I miss the part where he described the "big business" mentioned in the headline?

      March 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
      • Glenn

        As to Pat Robertson I only allude to the fact that he says pot should be legalized, the rest is my opinion.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Hawk

      5% of the world's population yet 25% of those imprisoned... Hmmm, if we use the World Bank's figure (2010) of 6,840,507,003 then that translates into approximately 1.7 billion prisoners. Nope, we don't have that many people in our entire country. If we use the U.S. population in mid-2011 of 311,800,000, 25% of that translates into approximately 78 million prisoners. Nope, we don't have that many either. So where does this 25% come from? We do make up slightly less than 5% of the world's population so Roberts got at least one thing right... Wait, is it new math? If we use 2.3 million prisoners (, that translates into approximately .007% of the US population. I guess sensationalism and inaccurate data makes for better press.

      March 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • Rob from NY

        moron – he's saying we have 5% of the world's population, yet we have 25% of the world's total imprisoned population. Try to use the grey matter between your ears.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • Ken

        Wow, reading comprehension impaired from the bong??

        There are roughly 10 million people imprisoned worldwide and the US has approx 2.5 million prisoners...

        March 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • Peter

        read again, it is not that 25% of the country is incarcerated, is that the US makes up 25% of the total number of people in prision around the world and yet the total population of the US is only 5% of the worlds population.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • JP

        Oh Hawk, it's 25% of the world's incarcerated population. I don't know what you are missing here.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • Rich

        You gotta be stoned!

        When you straighten up, think thru those numbers again!


        March 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
      • Incorrect

        You could benefit from more careful reading: the figure is 25% of the PRISON population. To reiterate, not 25% of anything but the world's PRISON population, i.e., all prisoners in the world. Awesome job; feel free to get back to your half-educated googling.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
      • Matt


        March 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
      • Oh dear..

        Hawk? You ever do a bit part in a Cheech and Chong movie? Stop toking so much and maybe you'll be able to read what's actually being said.

        March 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Gopal Saraswat

      I didn't really expect to agree with Zakaria on anything, but on this subject I do, wholeheartedly. Not just the war on drugs, but all the 'law and order' folks are nothing more than mouth-pieces for the prisons industry.

      March 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Matt

      THANK YOU for bringing attention to this national emergency Fareed. People are completely clueless as to how horrible a crisis this is.

      March 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Oh Matt, are you saying that Americans are stupid and that you are the smartest thing on the block?

        March 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
      • Pennswoodsman

        how is thanking someone for bringing something to everyone's attention claiming you are smarter? Why are you so defensive??

        April 1, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Texana

      I thought I'd never say this either: God bless Fareed Zakaria and Pat Robertson. I usually do not agree with either of them. Today, I do and I appreciate their taking this stand. I don't use drugs and I never intend to, but legalizing marijuana makes sense to me. But also I should add that I think that there should be severe penalties for those who drink and drive.

      March 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Earl G

      Good for Pat and Fareed.

      March 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • freedomdem

      zakaria is an open terrorist, look at his past. imagine the increase in welfare, auto deaths, over doses and dopped up us citizens...........execute drug dealers and watch the side effects of drugs go down......usa will soon be a bunch of dope heads. talk about a decline in society

      March 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        This is America, not Syria or Iran or Lebanon...

        March 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
      • Pennswoodsman

        really??? Execute everyone?? Sounds familiar as a "final solution", right? well...China did that when the commies took over to get rid of all of their opium addicts. I guess you're found of Communism, eh?

        April 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • mosinnagant

      Here is something I thought I would never be saying. Spot on Fareed. I guess even a broken clock is right two times a day.

      March 31, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • CA Liberal

      Congratulations Pat Robertson for seeing the obvious and talking about it. Something politicians are incapable of.

      March 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • uddi smith

      the article is not just about illegal drugs; it is also about the amount of people in prison; many crimes need to be punished differently, like someone's car is sold when driving drunk or their house is sold when committing a white-collar crime; plus big fines and immediately cashing these in (don't wait till they are willing to pay) etc; only crimes like violence against an other person needs to go to prison

      March 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Dennnn

      I believe that pot should be legal. But living in California where "Medical Marijuana" was legal for the price of the $100 card from the Kush Doctor , where you could grow it or buy it at either expos or in stores, it still made little to no difference on the number of Cartel killings south of the border and the number of drug convictions north.

      Unless we are going to legalize All drugs, marijuana is just a drop in the bucket....Good luck with the legal Meth, PCP and might as well outlaw "Laws" at that point.

      March 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • dkva76

      this is the first time I would agree with Pat

      April 1, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • V-toria

      Quite right.
      When Government is in session nearly the full length of every calender year. This long winded practice allow far too much time and effort to create additional laws many interfering in the lives of private citizens. I've often wondered why two weeks of in-session government worked in other large nations and America finds reasons to be in session for months on end. A total waste of so much time spent in long winded arguments,dreaming up more ways for Americans to gain prison records simply for being in possession of a weed. It's nothing more than cronyism in action and a huge protector of the beer, wine and liquor industry. If that group of lobbyist wasn't in Washington, we might have more common sense concerning marijuana.
      In addition, any drunk is far more of a public hazard than a person using marijuana. It's refreshing to see some national voices finally speaking in a reasonable way on this subject.

      April 1, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Oscar

      Agree completely..

      April 1, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • ng2012

      the whole problem with this scenario is that we are trying to stop some influential people from making profit off of the prison system, and for THAT REASON we want to legalize Marijuana. So we think they are so dumb that they won't find any other bill to put more people in prisions! if we all want to leagalize Marijuana then fine, do it but not for this stupid reason! because they will still find a way to keep people in jails. we are not striking at the root cause which really is lobbyists and corrupt politicians who support them. so after you legalize this now you have two more problems – one citizens who could have contributed to the country's GDP and not just claim unemplyment benefits will be too stoned to be productive (procrastination is a blessing!) and number two we still have too many people in prisons because the lobbyists would find something else to keep people in jails! If we as a nation are making so stupid decisions is it any surprise that China and Indai are kicking our ass in terms of economic growth?

      April 1, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • francis

      Follow the money.Prisons run by private companys,inmates are profit centers.Law enforcement,lawers,judges,and the list goes on of of people who make money off ths war on drugs.Thats why it will not change,to much money at stake,not to mention control.
      Where are the "smaller goverment" people when you need em.

      April 2, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • eroteme

      Robertson may be getting senile. The war on drugs has not been met with success, so we should declare its end. The war on poverty has also not met with success, should we declare its end? So far as drugs are concerned, I am of the opinion all drugs should be legal. If there are those who want to destroy their lives they should have that opportunity..

      April 2, 2012 at 10:43 am |
      • Dave

        If a course of action is tossing resources at a problem and making no progress, that course of action should be reevaluated. The War on Drugs has about as much success as The War on Poverty. In that, it's only making rich people richer, while pushing down on those nearer to the bottom of the societal ladder. Which is pretty ironic in the Poverty case. You can't just 'declare war' on a problem and attack it as if it were a breathing enemy.

        April 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • DSBsky

      You will never make people stop doign what they want. You are NOT GOD.. It's exactly like prohibition. Your kidding yourself if you think anything else. If all drugs were legal, less people would do them, because it's not as fun anymore.. Sounds odd, I know. But you have to put yourself into a highschool mentality. What the cool kids do, isn't usually legal, that's why it's cool.

      Making it illegal, just makes it more appealing.. Like underaged drinking. Once I hit 21, I pretty much stopped drinking all It's about letting us make mature decisions for ourselves, not being our parents. We don't need the government to be our parents, we have our own..

      April 2, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • COL Nicole Barbette

      This article is really off base, and Pat Robinson is very wrong! First of all “No one in the United States goes to jail for one day, let alone for ten years over the simple possession of Marijuana (i.e. one joint)-Come on people wake up-If that were case, we would have millions in the US prison system daily. Also, no one goes to jail for drug consumption-period. Stop listing to hype and do some independent research! The war on drugs is much larger than simply Marijuana-stop trying to tie the “war on drugs” to only pertaining to Marijuana-it’s not!!! In almost the entire Nation, Marijuana IS considered a Criminal offense (and rightfully so) and possession of it at the user level is usually charged as a very minor Misdemeanor (fine only-Hello, what does that sound like everybody!!!) or violation, a civil infraction. We have more important issues to deal with than passing more legislation on something that we don’t need to be legislated! I seriously doubt that America’s bulging prison population is due to the incarceration of Marijuana users-more likely those trafficking in very large amounts of it, (i.e as in several hundreds of pounds of it at a time!) or trafficking in Cocaine, Heroin or some other illegal drug. Lastly, be careful of attempting to legalize a societal problem away just because you (Society) do not want to deal with it-that is a dangerous precedent to set, and I resent this course of action-it opens the door for other problems that we as a society do not want to deal with! Here is an idea-let’s figure out a solution to our overly alcohol and drug dependent, addled population. (Facing a problem head on is usually the best course of action-I am sure I read this somewhere once!) Shame on Pat Robinson for being gulled into this logic-this just reassures my idea of him as a goof; Shame on Fareed Zakaria for suggesting that America’s growing prison population is due to simple Marijuana use or possession-I thought he was brighter than that; and Shame on CCN for posting this ridiculous, ill researched, and utterly unsubstantiated article-the research cited is so non-specific to the topic it’s laughable, and the inference it suggests is an insult to the non-drug addled population, whom by the way, can form independent conclusions! BTW-I purposely used capital “S” to denote Shame!

      April 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • Tired of Paying

        Not a single one of your points is actually true. People DO go to prison for only a single joint, the largest percent of prisioners is mj users – not dealers. Our current drug laws concerning mj CAUSE much more damage to society than any amount of lazy stoners ever will. Unless you are completely deluding yourself, please spend some time researching the actual numbers, costs and lives ruined by unfair mj laws and then comment. Just because you 'feel' that the laws are correct does not make them correct. 'Shame' should be dealt to those who fail to see the errors. Or do you own stock in Prisions?

        April 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • tom4650

      I totally agree.........the 'old man' has finally said something I can agree with and shown his mettle in the process. When a country such as ours surpasses even Russia and China with incarceration rates.........and for menial garbage, something has got to change. True, we are a nation of laws. But we need to apply what we have with some semblance of equality and sensibility.

      April 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
      • COL Nicole Barbette

        No one goes to jail for the simple possession of a joint-NO ONE-IT DOES NOT HAPPEN! Trust me when I tell you that the police can't even get those in possession of Cocaine to go to jail on repeated offenses! In every State I have lived simple possession of Marijuana has been a very minor offense! However, possession of large amounts of it CAN lead you to prison, most likely not on a first offense. I think all of you who say otherwise don't know what you are talking about, and you are clearly disseminating dis-information in order to ram home a point which is utterly false to support your own drug addled paranoid conclusion.

        April 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Joe Bob

      I agree it should be legalized i dont see the relationship to crime and why it is illegal. We are creating more prisons in the effort to get enough to lock up everyone who is not part of they political / injustice system we have.

      Our government is against us...

      We are waiting for them to come to our doors next to strip search our houses and take our weapons. this is the new prison purpose to jail disadants.

      This war against the american people is not based on color its based on money how much you got is the issue vs. how much they in the control of the corrupted political system want all of it.

      April 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Barry G.

      Why are our prisons full?

      Too many bad parents.

      Too many teen parents.

      Too many who don't know their right hand from their left.

      Too few good role mokels.

      Too many bad role models.

      Too much expectaion of privilege and too little sense of responsibility.

      Did I mention leaders, who love to take money from lobbyists, in exchange for favors?

      April 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • JOE


      April 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • ummm

      Many reasons to make weed legal.
      1.) it was prohibit/made illegal in the late 1930's not for being a drug but socialized with Black American's
      2.) The government use it to fight cancer in the lungs/pain relief
      3.) explain in the above story.
      4.) If tax correctly would make the federal government make /save money from prisons
      5.) medical drugs would become cheaper in some areas

      Reason not to legallize it
      1.) prison bussiness would go down
      2.) medical drugs would take a dive in sales due to weed being cheaper for pain relief/combat some illness
      3.) sales for cig./achol would go down in sales

      what PPL are scared of
      1.) young ppl might have more ways to get it(they already get it illegally now it would be harder due to ID checks)
      2.)ppl get dumb from it. that is a myth the person was already dumb achol does the same thing but more harmful to the body.

      April 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • wisconsin101

      Is it too many laws or is it Americans do not want to follow them. If you don't like the laws then quit voting for those legislating them. America is the only country that idolizes bad boys & makes fun of geeks and over achievers. We tighten drunk driving laws, texting, etc and then propose to allow another impaired substance legal. Talk about mixed signals but then what did you except from ever centralized federal government system.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • ElkHoundHead

      And legal Pain meds cause 1000% more problems in life...

      PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLERS: drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, the main ingredients in Oxycontin and Vicodin, landed 305,885 Americans in emergency rooms in 2008 - more than double the 144,644 visits in 2004, (2010 study by Samsha and the CDC)

      Overdose deaths involving these opioid pain relievers (oxycodone and hydrocodone; and synthetic narcotics such as fentanyl and propoxyphene) now exceed deaths from heroin and cocaine combined (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
      Prescription drug overdoses have been increasing in the United States over the last decade, and by 2008 had reached 36,450 deaths – almost as many as from motor vehicle crashes (39,973). ... rentid=740

      * VIOXX: On January 24, 2005, the medical journal The Lancet published on its website a report on Vioxx risks that was previously blocked by the FDA. The study found that Vioxx may have caused as many as 140,000 cases of heart disease in the United States and as many as 56,000 deaths during the five years that it was on the market. The newly published study of 1.4 million patients shows that that low doses of Vioxx increased the risk of heart disease by about 50%, and higher doses increased it by 358%.

      * ACETAMINOPHEN: ( found in more than 300 products with sales in the billions of dollars annually) Acetaminophen overdoses are the leading cause of acute liver failure (ALF) in the United States, Great Britain and most of Europe. Acetaminophen toxicity accounts for approximately 50% of all cases of ALF in the United States and carries a 30% mortality. -More than 100,000 calls to Poison Control Centers, 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and nearly 500 deaths are attributed to acetaminophen in the United States annually. ... .21926/pdf

      * ANTIDEPRESSANTS: The respected journal, PLoS ONE, published a study in June 2010, showing that men who are depressed and take trycyclic, SSRI, or any other antidepressants die at a significantly greater rate than those who don't. – Performed in Australia, the study followed 5,276 men aged 68-88.

      "The results of this study indicate that the 6-year adjusted mortality hazard is twice as high for men with depression compared with non-depressed men and that the use of antidepressants is associated with an independent rise in mortality of 30%. .. We found that antidepressant treatment increases the mortality hazard of men by 30%, and this association is independent of the presence of clinically significant depression. .. It is also important to consider that the use of antidepressants has been associated with numerous potentially harmful effects, some of which may increase morbidity and mortality. For example, antidepressant treatment has been linked to increased risk of injurious and non-injurious falls in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, and there is some evidence that the use of common antidepressants increases the risk bleeding in various body systems, including the central nervous system, as well as the risk of incident diabetes. In addition, recently published findings from the Nurses' Health Study showed an increase in the number of sudden cardiac deaths associated with the use of antidepressants, a result that is consistent with our observation of an excess of cardiovascular deaths amongst men using antidepressants." ... ne.0011266

      Postmenopausal Women on antidepressants are 45% more likely than those not on such medication to have a stroke, and 32% more likely to die of any cause. – There is an increased likelihood of Hemorrhagic strokes (bleeding in the brain) which is possibly the result of the anti-clotting effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are most frequently prescribed for depression. The authors of the study noted that since post-menopausal women make up the largest segment of patients in the United States on antidepressants, the resulting increases in strokes and deaths across the country could be significant. ... /2128?home

      A study published in 2009 found that SSRIs interfered with the breast cancer medication tamoxifen, with tumors more than twice as likely to return after two years in women taking antidepressants compared with those taking tamoxifen alone.

      Children whose mothers take Zoloft, Prozac, or similar antidepressants during pregnancy are twice as likely as other children to have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder.

      April 3, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  2. George Patton

    Marijuana should be be legalized for medical purposes only. Otherwise, marijuana as a gateway drug tends to lead to the use of hader drugs in some people like methamphetamines, cocain and ever heroin. The war on drugs is failing primarily because of the demand for them and as long as there is a demand out there, it will be met!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • sosume

      What is the evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug?

      March 30, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
      • Charlie

        There is none. That is why he cannot give you a reference.

        March 31, 2012 at 1:21 am |
      • Tahir

        What is the evidence that sun rises in the east or a crow is black, or there is water in the sea.

        March 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
      • Mike

        Not all Hard drug abusers started off with Marijuana (True Statement)
        Some Marijuana users will never abuse hard drugs (True Statement)
        ALL hard drug users will drink water before abusing hard drugs (True Statement)
        Water is a bigger "gateway drug" than Marijuana (Inferred Conclusion)

        Isn't logic fun?

        March 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • Ace89

        Yes, logic IS fun. But there's no reflexivity in Implication statements, only in equivalence statements. So while I commend your challenging the "gateway drug" thing, you're going about it the wrong way.


        March 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • southernhippy

        Just a small fact you all can research, less then 3% of MJ users do other drugs and less then 15% do booze. MJ isn't a gateway drug unlike the formentioned booze. Not forgetting to mention Tobacco and suger(aka does the same in your body and cokecain). So called gateway have been legal for years and that lame agrument the pot leads to other drugs is just false and missleading. Sotra like politics.

        March 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Jacob

      Just because ALL heroin addicts have had water to drink does not mean water was the "gateway" to the drug. This is basic algebra. as A is to B, and B is to C, does not make C related to A at all. It just seems that way.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
      • NoNoNo

        Not quite. You're attempting to explain the Law of Syllogism (which is not a concept of algebra, but of Logic.) If A has a causal relationship with B, and B has a causal relationship with C, then A does actually have a causal relationship to C.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Ace89

        Actually, he got the logic wrong, but his earlier point is correct. Not a worthy opponent. I have to intervene.

        If all heroin addicts drink (say, alcohol (since we're on the topic of drugs)), then it is NOT true that alcohol is the gateway drug to heroin.

        Here the logic goes something like this: If A leads to B, B does not necessary lead to A. You could from the above statement say that Heroin is the gateway drug to alcohol, but not the other way round.

        Nice try!!

        March 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • habibi
      In 1970 the United States Congress repealed mandatory penalties for cannabis offenses and The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act separated cannabis from other illicit narcotics and removed mandatory sentences for possession of small amounts of cannabis.
      In 1973 Oregon decriminalized cannabis.[79] Laws changed again in 1995 that reduced penalties. Possession of one ounce or less became legally defined as a "violation" (a crime that is considered a lesser offence than a misdemeanor) and now is punishable by a $500 to $1,000 fine that can be, in some jurisdictions, paid off by means of community service.
      Colorado, Alaska, Ohio, and California followed suit in 1975. By 1978 Mississippi, North Carolina,[81] New York, and Nebraska had some form of cannabis decriminalization. In 2001 Nevada reduced cannabis possession from a felony offense to a misdemeanor, but only for adults age 21 and older, with other restrictions.
      Starting in the 1970s multiple states, counties, and cities decriminalized cannabis for non-medical purposes. While many states, counties, and cities have partially decriminalized cannabis on November 3, 2004, Oakland passed Proposition Z, and became the first place to fully decriminalize cannabis to allow the licensing, taxing, and regulation of cannabis sales if California law is amended to allow so.[85] In 2008 Massachusetts passed a voter initiative that decriminalized simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, instead making it a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine. Criminal penalties for cultivation and distribution remain in place.[86]

      A vote in 2005 of 54% to 46% in Denver, Colorado, made the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis legal, although it does not overrule state laws and one may still be arrested for it—it also only applies to people age 21 and older. In 2006 Denver City Council voted to make arrests and tickets for possession of marijuana the lowest priority for law enforcement.

      March 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Charlie

      Then why is it only the the US is locking up such a high percentage of its population? I don't think we are uniquely attracted to drugs. It is because as the article puts forward the war on drugs is a failure. It has caused much more harm than it has prevented. It is time for a fresh look at how we deal with the issue of drugs including alcohol and tobacco.

      March 31, 2012 at 1:27 am |
      • GLMcColm

        Because politicians receive campaign contributions from corporations that run prisons, and because rural communities that host those prisons become dependent on them and their representatives insist on criminalizing everything in order to keep those prisons running and prison officers employed.

        March 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • bark

        Putting people in jail gets u elected. Why do you think Leona Helmsley and Martha Stewart went to jail? Politicians dont care if they are locking up illegal aliens, dope smokers, or home improvement matrons. If it gets them elected, they will put Jesus Christ in jail.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        dog or tree
        blasphemy==shock value?

        March 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Kuato Lives

      How is marijuana anymore of a "gateway drug" than alcohol? In fact, studies show that marijuana is more of an "exit drug" than anything else. When people choose THC, they tend to reduce their consumption of other addictive and deadly drugs, such as prescription pills (which are actually a gateway to heroine) and legal intoxicants such as alcohol and nicotine (which has the tobacco and alcohol companies freaked out and lobbying against it).

      But think about the issue on a more grassroots level: like it or not, people love getting trashed, especially after a long day/week of work. Since many people want to follow the law and are afraid of the consequences of breaking it (usually they are afraid they will lose their job), they choose legal intoxicants, namely alcohol.

      Now how does alcohol make you feel? It makes you feel tough, aggressive, invincible: It makes you do and say things you normally wouldn't; it helps you make mistakes. People drive when they shouldn't, people fight when they shouldn't, people do things they later regret with alcohol.

      If marijuana were legal, more people would choose to get intoxicated on it rather than alcohol. Instead of going out driving while inebriated, more people would just stay home, order a pizza, and watch cartoons. Instead of acting aggressively, saying things they shouldn't, fighting, etc., more people would just kick back, listen to music and talk about how much they love everything.

      If marijuana were legal, I guarantee you that drunk driving deaths would decrease, as well as the rates of violent crimes and domestic disturbances. The police's job would be so much easier if the lower classes were all stoned instead of drunk.

      If someone consumes and/or supports the legality of alcohol and tobacco (which cause ~75,000 and 440,000 Deaths in the US annually), but are against the legality of marijuana (~0 deaths in the US annually), then they are a fool and a hypocrite.

      March 31, 2012 at 1:46 am |
      • Ivan

        This is an excellent post brother; preach on!!

        March 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • Ivan

        "If marijuana were legal, I guarantee you that drunk driving deaths would decrease, as well as the rates of violent crimes and domestic disturbances. The police's job would be so much easier if the lower classes were all stoned instead of drunk."

        Forgot to mention this. I read about a study recently conducted that is investigating this very issue; the impact of higher marijuana use with the decrease in consumption of alcohol and alcohol related traffic accidents. For the study, they used communities from states with liberal medical marijuana laws that have high medical, and probably recreational, use of marijuana. According to local police and DMV records, it did find a trend that supports the theory that as the overall population use of marijuana increases, the use of other mind altering substances, such as alcohol, tends to decrease by the same proportion; and not surprisingly, so do rates of alcohol related accidents.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • Anonymous

        Agreed 100 percent. I wish there was some data on the subject but that sounds right based on what I have seen.

        March 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
      • Rebellion

        @Ivan – Yay ! Then its settled – I'm gonna pack a bowl....

        March 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
      • Oscar

        Hypocrite or very convenient to them...

        April 1, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Philip Lococo

      I encourage everyone to watch this video and educate themselves on the facts and history around marajuana in the United States as presented by some of the country's formost doctors.

      March 31, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • Tonyo

        One of the biggest liars in this country is the Surgeon Genera, so why should we pay any attention to those other 'foremost Doctors' in the governments pocket?

        March 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
      • Tonyo

        One of the biggest liars in this country is the Surgeon General, so why should we pay any attention to those other 'foremost Doctors' in the governments pocket?

        March 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        if you repeat it 5 more times, we will believe it?

        March 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • keith

      Bull crap, that is a lame excuse. If marijuana is a gateway drug, then alcohol should be classified as a gateway drug as well. Your stance against marijuana is null and void unless you have the same stance against alcohol. If that is the case, then excuse me.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • paulronco

      The "gateway drug" theory is patently junk science and has been definitely proven as such. There is no "magical substance" in marijuana that causes cravings for other substances that happen to be illegal at this point in time in human history. Marijuana use is a reliable indicator that the likelihood of experimentation with other drugs is higher than with non-smokers simply because it is illegal and thus found in the pockets of dealers who sell other substances along with it. Make marijuana legal and it will be no more a "gateway drug" than beer and cigarettes, which are also associated with a higher likelihood of experimentation of illegal substances.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • garwin1

        There's a private prison here in Oklahoma full of state prisoners from California. Corporate corrections is HUGE!!

        March 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        are you able to provide a name?
        so that we can all know what you are talking about.

        March 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • A-Rod

      Gateway? Hahaha. Actually, a pothead that could smoke weed LEGALLY would have a much smaller probability of trying a MORE addictive, ILLEGAL substance.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • MC

      You really are an gaseous idiot.

      If it's a "gateway drug," (if it is one, which is unproven) is that it's sold by people who are by definition criminals. And once you start dealing with criminals for pot, you might just as well try some pills or some coke too.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Mike

      Gatewat drug is a ridiculous and unprovable buzz word. Correlation =/= Causation. Why is alcohol not considered a gateway drug to hard drugs, or even violence and murder?

      Stop living in the 80s, "Just Say No' was an abysmal failure.... need proof? CRACK COCAINE.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • kormallain

      I smoked a joint at the entrance of a sports stadium, before a concert! So there, it is a gateway drug!!

      March 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake


        March 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • meemee

      I listened to a science report on NPR yesterday where a study was done that showed that cigarettes and alcohol are the actual gateway drugs to the usual illegal ones. In fact, they showed that people who smoked cigarettes were the ones who would become addicted to cocaine. I have always wondered about that as the standing explanations didn't quite satisfy. Every person I have ever know that had a cocaine problem were smokers or smoked when they drank or did other drugs. Nicotine seems to work with these other agents physiologically. That's what a couple long term studies have shown.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
      • dustin

        Just as many people in fact more in this country are addicted to fast food is that also a gateway to use of cocaine? If so maybe the fact that I am addicted to the love of my wife and family is also a gateway drug. Or perhaps the fact that I enjoy to fish and hunt or hunt is agateway maybe because I will willingly cut down a tree without thoughts of government proganda concerning global warming is a gateway quit reading reports and do some real study into your observsions.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Research on the relation between personality and the etiology of alcohol and drug abuse has revealed a single consistent finding: a correlation between antisocial behavior in childhood and adolescence and alcoholism in adulthood. It is antisocial behavior, however, and not antisocial personality, that most observers identify as a precursor of alcoholism. Unfortunately, the high rates of antisocial behavior in our society render it an inefficient predictor of alcohol and drug abuse. Research on the link between personality and the course of alcohol and drug abuse has suggested that substantial numbers of abusers meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for antisocial personality disorder and that depression also frequently accompanies alcohol and drug dependence. No personality factors and no other behaviors have reliably differentiated abusers from others: Antisocial behavior and depression are behaviors that are symptomatic, respectively, of disregard for society's rules and of clinical dysphoria. Moreover, the depressed behavior of alcoholics appears largely to be consequent rather than antecedent to their alcoholism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA

        March 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • longtooth

      I was busted for marijuana in 1968. I had a good lawyer, so I beat the rap. I am now a federal retiree who never became a heroin addict.. Marijuana is not a gateway drug.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • OrionStyles

        This is actually what is scary.

        Imagine you got jail time instead, and lost your job... which is now more likely?
        a) You are retired with a federal pension after leading a normal life or
        b) You were found in a back alley ODed on heroine with a criminal history of theft to pay for your addiction because your criminal record prevented you from finding meaningful employment, so you turned further to drugs to escape reality.

        March 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • SSampson

      The 'gateway' drug thing is a myth – A total myth –

      It's like saying that someone who has a glass of wine is going to end up downing a 40 of vodka every day –

      It is intentionally an obtuse argument being so ludicrous in nature that it is difficult to argue against. I might as well debate the color of the sky – blue or orange – How can one argue with someone that chooses orange??

      March 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bob

      Even if that was true, and I don't know of any evidence to say it is, what difference does it make? Are we going to ban everything that might lead to criminal behavior? Alcohol is extremely dangerous and causes tens of thousands of deaths every year in the US alone and kills almost twice as many people as guns do. If we're going to ban drugs, then we should also ban alcohol, guns, knives, politics, religion and anything else that might lead to violence.

      March 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Glenn

      I consider Alcohol to be a drug as well, and of course it could lead to harder drugs, but I would say that marijuana could never hold a candle to the damage to society that alcohol has caused, I don't think people feel much like killing each other after smoking, I have never heard of the police being called out to a domestic disturbance where pot was the drug of choice, or drive insanely fast after smoking, and yet alcohol is the legal drug...

      March 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Matt


      March 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Eric

      Ice cream would be a gateway drug if made illegal. Why? Because there would be no place to get the ice cream except through a dealer. Rocky Road, or Chocolate Chip? Oh, I have some great Heroine too.......

      March 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake


        March 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • bill

      i have smoked for a good part of my life.. and it has never lead me to try other drugs it is no way a gateway drug.

      March 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Rich Head

      Gateway – just as beer is the gateway to wine and whiskey? The reason it's called that is generally the pot dealer has other things also. IF it were legal, that would not be the case.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • muggles

      Does that mean coffee is the gateway to meth?

      April 1, 2012 at 1:17 am |
      • Patrick

        You are good!

        April 1, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Joe Bob

      You do realize you have BS coming out your mouth?

      April 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • gary

      If there is any truth to the gateway drug argument, it comes from the fact that marijuana is illegal, not due to marijauna itself. If you want to get marijuana where do you go? a drug dealer, guess what else drug dealers have? Other drugs and knowing that crack, pcp, herion etc are addicting they push them on you. But guess what, if you can buy pot at 7-11 and 7-11 doesn't carry crack, your not going to start doing crack.

      April 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • 420guy

      Marijuana is not a gateway drug... how can it be if cocaine was my first drug?

      May 5, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  3. Tom

    Find out why more and more cops, judges, and prosecutors who have fought on the front lines of the "war on drugs" are standing up and saying we need to legalize and regulate all drugs to help solve our economic, crime, and public health problems:

    March 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Rz

      If anything, it is the production and trade of marijuana that is still very much illegal in most places, which in turn could make it a gateway to worse things. Allowing people to grow their own plants for personal and private use would certainly have a positive overall effect. You wouldn't need guns, nor any significant amounts of cash, nor have to conduct business with any unsavory sales agents, etc., etc

      March 30, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        What a silly little girl, this is already happening.
        Do some research before attempting to sound brilliant habibi.

        March 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  4. momo

    also, Mayo Clinic and other medical researchers seem to conclude that cannabis are no more harmful than alcohol though both are terrible if consumed heavily.

    I think medicinal marijuana usage in some states like california and federal fair sentencing act are a good start.
    if those states allow some to smoke them or treating smokers instead of putting them in jails will prove that this does not raise rate of drug abuse in real life, a lot more skeptics will rethink about decriminalizing.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  5. .

    Another dumb liberal idea from Fareed the Screed. People who do drugs can't hold a job, but they need their drugs whether they're legal or not.

    So when some hoodie wearing thug busts into your house or sticks a gun in your ribs because he needs what you've got to pay for his fix, does it matter if the drugs he's going to buy are legal or illegal? He's still going to threaten your life - maybe even kill you - to get the money he needs.

    Liberalism is a mental disorder. Fareed Zakaria is the poster child.

    March 31, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • backatya

      Nice job! When you have nothing to contribute just insult the other guy. Strange to find myself in agreement with Pat Robertson. Also strange that so many folks that talk about reducing the role of government don't trust folks to manage their own bodies. The war on drugs has been a complete failure and has contributed greatly to the growth of organized crime just like prohibition before it. Legalize, regulate and tax drugs and you will deprive organized crime of one of its most reliable sources of money while generating money for the good guys.

      March 31, 2012 at 8:36 am |
      • Alex

        Really? Someone is going to bust in my house and hold me up for my pot if its legal? How often does this happen with alcohol? How many times are people holding you up in your home for your 6 pack of bud light? And people who smoke pot can't hold jobs? Would you say the same for everyone that drinks on weekends and after work? NO This is the most ridiculous post I have read yet. Get a clue!

        March 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
      • dustin

        It seems that you have an isue with fear! If someone breaks into my home they will have to fight for what little i have drugs or no drugs I will devend mine

        March 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
      • ken

        Yes, and there is a big difference between a drug USER and a drug ABUSER.
        The so-called 'War on drugs' cannot succeed. The cops are so proud when they make a big bust but the amount they cost the dealers is chump change compared to their overall profits.

        The biggest investors in privately run prisons in this country were the Bush family who began investing millions soon after their little boy George was elected. It was part of their plan to incarcerate for profit and their profits have been nearly as massive as their partners in the endeavor, the dug dealers/cartels.

        March 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Again with your favorite saying "so-called'–every conversation with you leads to something being called so-called.
        It is or it is not buddy.
        Get it!

        March 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Kuato Lives

      A mental disorder, huh? The teapot calling the kettle black, don't ya think?

      March 31, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • habibi

        "The teapot calling the kettle black"
        The expression you are trying to steal is "The pot calling the kettle black"
        Now go and have a cup of tea.

        March 31, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • habibi

      Just like Kuato Lives, I am confused by your statement:
      "Liberalism is a mental disorder"
      Although, I realize I am talking to a dot.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jeff

      Pretty arrogant (as usual) coming from someone who can't even offer their name as a screen name.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • tamna

      You said yourself: " ...does it matter if the drugs he's going to buy are legal or illegal...". Exactly – it doesn't...

      March 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • MC

      Really, half-wit? I enjoy a joint now and then and hold down a six-figure job without any problem. As do most of my friends in technology companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley. It's trailer trash like you who have problems holding down jobs. It has nothing to do with pot.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • shootmyownfood

        Dead on!

        April 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • jiaowejfoaiwf

      I'm liberal on some subjects, I do drugs, and I probably paid several times more in taxes last year than you made.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Dan

      Probably one of the dumbest comments I've ever read on here. Congrats on lowering the bar so far that even bacteria couldn't pass under it.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • bark

      Mental disorders can be treated, conservatives cannot.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        You are not a conservative or a liberal, you are a trouble maker, plain and simple.

        March 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • bark

      Fareed Zakaria fails to mention that conservatives like William Buckley called for the legalization of drugs over twenty years ago. These were highly educated, respected intellectuals, not mongrels like Pat Robertson.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • gnan

      Again . is a retard

      March 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Lionel Mandrake

      It is very hard to take a dot seriously.

      March 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • bark

      "Gateway drug" is the only argument churches have left against marijuana. Other poisons are more destructive. Some are more expensive. Once the pharmaceutical industry, or a clever entrepreneur, develops a safe, non-habit forming drug with extreme highs but no effects, will the problem be solved. People will always have a need to get high. Finding a safe, and profitable way to do it is the capitalist solution.

      March 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      Wow! You are really out there. I personally know may regular mairjuana users; all of them are fully employed. The trick is – don't go to work high. Works well with marijuana; not so well with meth or heroin. I challenge you to select the marijuan users out of a crowd simply by appearance.

      April 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  6. .

    Dumb dumb liberals.

    March 31, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Libertyluvrz

      Brainwashed, brainwashed conservatives.

      March 31, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Jeff

      Liberals know where they come from, know where they are and know where they want to go........conservatives haven't a clue except to say no and everything is bad unless it is a conservative's idea or conservatives benefit from it.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • goldenmoral

      Liberal = having an open mind, open to different perspectives, open to progress
      Conservative = stuck in the past, having a closed egotistical mind

      March 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • MC

      Wow, you really demonstrated your intellectual firepower there "." We're all very impressed.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • bark

      If liberals are so dumb, who elected George W. Bush as president?

      March 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • bark

      Dumb and dumber republicans. George W. Bush, Rick Sanitorium, Sarah Palin.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
      • gnan

        The Democrat Obama has been great your saying??? Wow, wake up

        March 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
      • cannabis

        Screw liberals and conservatives. They're the reason for all the mess the country is in right now

        March 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  7. pippabarks

    I recommend The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander if you want to get a handle on what has happened and why. She places a lot of the blame on the plea bargaining system.

    March 31, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  8. Libertyluvrz

    Mandatory minimum sentences imposed at the state and federal level, and privatized prisons are also part of the problem. As long as there is a financial incentive to keep people locked up, this will be an uphill battle.

    March 31, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  9. frank castle

    why didn't you give Michelle Alexander a shout out? Her book is part of the reason why more and more people are beginning to discuss this . Instead you nod your head to a piece of trash like Pat Robertson? Why?

    March 31, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  10. bozourbana

    I would like to see evidence for Robertson's assertion that "...every time the liberals [as opposed to conservatives] pass a bill – I don't care what it involves, they stick criminal sanctions on it. "

    March 31, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • MC

      It's Pat Robertson. Once in a very long while he has a good point, but you can't expect him to go more than a few sentences without saying something really stupid too.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Lionel Mandrake

      what..........are............ you............. talking......... about?
      Are you even American?

      March 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  11. Marwan Al Rasheed

    Milton Friedman said this exact thing 30 years ago. Our government needs to wake up and really look at this from an economic point of view and not a moral point of view. Regulation might seem like the best answer but in the long run its a massive waste on money and ruins more live.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • habibi

      Okay, let's empty the jails.
      Now what?

      March 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
      • bark

        After you empty the jails, they will find Jesus and turn into Republicans. Problem solved.

        March 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Allah will tell them to lie.

        March 31, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  12. Arif Qureshi

    The application of power is destructive, the application of knowledge is constructive.
    If the european understand it so they should fight with ignorance rather than to invest in war.
    terorism is the reaction not action.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • habibi

      Arif, you said:
      If the european understand it so they should fight with ignorance rather than to invest in war.
      terorism is the reaction not action.

      We are trying to understand your statement that Europe is ignorant and who is propagating terrorism?

      March 31, 2012 at 11:48 am |
      • Tahir

        Terrorism is propagated by supporting common people to take guns in their hands, just like USA gave guns to common people in Afghanistan to fight Russian during cold war.This resulted in emergence of Taliban and Osama.Now you people are repeating the same thing in Syria and have already done that in Libya. So prepare yourself for more 9/11. Reap what you sow.

        March 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Tahir==slime bucket

        March 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  13. Peter Kalven

    "Prisons are a big business. Most are privately run." Herein lays the problem. Somewhere along the way we've sold the farm how is it in a time when violent crime is declining our prison population is expanding? I wager that at $50,000 an inmate not a penny is going toward education, reformation or reentry as productive citizen into society. We as the "customer" need look at the service and sets standards for achieving profit: it need be profitable for society as well. In this case it is clear that it is not.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  14. delia ruhe

    It would be nice to know how many people in the system are there solely because of pot crimes.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • habibi

      Delia, when you say "solely because of pot crimes", are you including everyone from those charged with personal possession to those who were caught importing tons of marijuana?

      March 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • hokieface

        Why are you making miniscule criticisms and countering with absurd overreactions to everyone's thoughts? What a troll.

        (Bonus points for replying to this with "Well why are you (insert witty comment) )

        March 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Go smoke some pot and relax habibi.

        March 31, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • paulronco

      Slightly less than half. It is an outrage.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  15. Stan

    If the country wants to continue the War on Drugs, it would be significantly easier to do what California did, and reduce most marijuana crimes to the infraction level. Levy stiff fines against users and small time dealers. Serves a dual purpose. Increases state and local revenues, and reduces the burden on the court and prison system.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • paulronco

      Why don't we levy stiff fines against people for wearing yellow? That would also generate revenue, and it would be about as fair. Wake-up call: Smoking marijuana is not a crime.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • AO

      I guess the problem arises when the users and small time dealers prefer to go to jail instead of paying the fine.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  16. Doktor Sorcha Root

    Make it legal and I will become a legal grower.

    March 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • habibi

      why? are you an illegal grower now?

      March 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
      • dustin

        whether illigal or legal grower does not matter fact is many government jobs depends on the "war" my brother in-law is border control withour war on marijuana he would have no job. but you know what he is a moron racist and sadistic in his actions. you want to fight crime make it ilegal to except bribes on the government level

        March 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Carla Vazq

      In Colorado I am a legal grower. I am also an RN for Kettering in Denver! The director of the hospital knows I grow it and most of the other employees.

      The Denver VA knows I grow it! I provide it to some of their vets free! And there are some on this website that will say I lie....but they are to lazy to google it! Yes, the government does allow the VA to recommend pot but they lock up locals for providing it.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  17. Bill

    Although I'm yet to be convinced that legalizing marijuana is the best solution ,I do feel that prison or jail terms is excessive and costly. I think fines for posession would be a better solution. We spend way too much keeping 7 million people incarcerated.

    March 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • TwizeeK

      Then what, exactly, is keeping you from endorsing the legalization of a plant know to have medical benefits and only passing, non-addictive intoxicating qualities. Perhaps you may be alarmed to know that one can get high from huffing oxygen, as offered in bars all over the world. Perhaps we should outlaw oxygen as it's a gateway to huffing paint.

      Stop believing the propaganda. Educate yourself. The only thing legal marijuana might be a gateway to is questioning just how many other lies have been pushed on you by your government and the media.

      March 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |


    March 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • bark

      Bad news, bro. The Russians are supplying Syria with weapons, too. Long before Hezbollah and Iran got into the business.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • adopted USA

      Marijuana, Syria, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, Chemical weapon, Russia, Israel???????????????????? How much pot did you smoke?

      March 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • DaveL

      Pound those war drums. Our troops are tan rested and ready. BS

      March 31, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Keith

      Who cares? I don't, I hope they kill everybody so we don't have to hear about it any more

      April 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  19. Olakunle Soriyan

    Marijuana Legalized? That's real humor. I mean...should we allow a menace (with an increasing nuisance-value) in an effort to deal with a another social problem? I think not. Just as sending people to jail is not the only way to deal with a crime; legalizing marijuana may not be the only way to deal with the real issues Pat Robertson has identified. Whether it is needful to accomodate a "weaker evil" to establish a greater good will be a symposium discussion in future. But for today, if we task ourselves enough, we can always find the kind of solutions that does not create another problem nor leave us with the sobering idea that we may have to accept the oppressive content of a social menace (marijuana) simply because we have underrated the blessing of the human spirit to discern noble and meaninful options with great balance.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • TwizeeK

      Menace? What menace.

      The evils you reference are fictions that have been used to produce propaganda that has been repeated ad infinitum for 80 years. Marijuana is illegal due to racism and corporate lobbying–nothing more.

      What social problems does marijuana ACTUALLY cause? do you have an unbiased source you can reference? How about an older study that directly counters your claim, as produced at the direction of Fierello LaGuardia? ( Your post REEKS of ignorance.

      Here's the deal, you cannot hold libertarian views on other issues and still demand that governments control people's social behaviors. Marijuana is benign–it's not an evil of any sort. If you're going to crow about how "evil" marijuana is, you'd better be beating the drum of making alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, energy drinks, and vitamins illegal as well. Otherwise you're just a foolish hypocrite.

      March 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • paulronco

      Your "argument" overlooks the crux of the matter, which is not whether marijuana is a virtue or a vice but whether possessing it and using it warrants sending people to jail and giving them criminal records. Spitting on the sidewalk may not be good for society. That doesn't mean we should kill people for it. In the case of marijuana, the punishment does not fit the crime.

      March 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Carla Vazq

      Google – Veterans Administration marijuana

      If the gov says it is okay to recommend and treat patients with pot, why do they put people in jail for using it?

      Educate yourself

      March 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • bark


      March 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • dustin

      It is interesting to how uniformed you are. Marijuana is only illegal becuase the government knows we would grow it ourselves mmaking taxes not available. It is not a lesser evil I am a Sothern Baptist Preacher and belive that alcohol which you seem to drink to much of is the more evil Iknow mmany that smoke go to work and love there families if you wish to comment do it with intelligance and not judgment that is the key problem judge not lest you be judged in my world it is the survival of the fittest my guess is you have a sit on your ass office job and are controlled by your wife all of which are not of the bible if you dont believe then you are greatly missinformed and would do well to take a week and come to see me I can prove by science math geology and historical record the existant of god

      March 31, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  20. Americal 68

    i'm stunned. ol' Pat dealing in reality? now i have to quantify any critical talk about him

    March 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  21. b00mhauer

    It's plain ol logic – stop trying to run other people's lives. Gateway drug? doesn't matter, it's not your job to tell others what to do. If people want to light up, then let em.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  22. Tahir

    One day will come when people in USA will get up to legalize all drugs.Once alcohol was also not legal in USA.Long live USA.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  23. Puruz

    This is a big reason why we need Ron Paul!

    March 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Tahir

      A person who shows reality does not have any chance in USA. Persons who can make people fool as Bush made people fool on weapons of mass destruction of Iraq, can only become presidents.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  24. jdoe

    People can "start a conversation" on this all day long, but as long as it's a business it will not go away. In fact it will keep getting worse. Any industry will want to grow, and the prison industry is no different. Let's just stop pretending that America is the "land of the free" and recognize it for what it is, the land of the gulag.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  25. Farhrique Englasias

    Why are we listening to an Indian about what America must do?

    March 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  26. trina

    How about we put the prisoners to labor? No free rides in Prison!!! How about we get something out of that potential labor force?

    March 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • TotallySirius

      Yeah, forced labor i.e.slavery, that's the ticket. How did that turn out the last time?

      March 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Really?

      Are you suggesting we turn inmates into slaves? The article was on how immoral and unjust it is to have such high incarceration rates and what you got out of it was let's make them work for us. If you truly think you are so much better than someone whose committed a crime that you somehow have the right to make them work for you, well you need to check your wicked self. If we had less people in jail then we would have more people working in our society. That is a moral way to put prisoners to work, not enslave them and force them to work for us, especially for non-violent crimes.

      March 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • bark

      Guess what, Trina? Private companies ARE putting prisoners to work. And some of them are getting filthy rich doing it!!!

      March 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  27. Sarav Chidambaram

    This is the biggest fraud. Greedy corporations who benefit from running prisons on tax dollars. The purpose of sending people to prison is to change their ways. But infact prisons are breeding grounds of organized crime and the ones who go in come out as hardened criminals. Hire a big lobbyist company, give them a bunch of dollars, they will influence the politicians so that my fellow Americans can languish in Jail. This is a shame and no one cares about it. Do you think this will change sooner? I doubt it.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
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