Billboard advertises evangelist’s support for ‘marijuana like alcohol’ initiative

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A conservative evangelist who gained national acclaim for his unique stance on the legalization of marijuana now has a local billboard proclaiming his message that Colorado should regulate the drug like it regulates alcohol.

The digital billboard features an image of Virginia conservative activist and television evangelist Pat Robertson, and is located on the I-70 Business Loop west of Main Street in Grand Junction, a city GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently visited.

The billboard reads “Pat Robertson would vote YES on 64. Will you?” The message references Amendment 64, an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in the state.

“If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?” Robertson was quoted as saying in a New York Times story earlier this year.

Drastic positions are nothing new for Robertson. The 82-year-old, who attempted to mount a presidential campaign in 1988, said the tornadoes that hit the Midwest earlier this year would not have happened if the area’s residents prayed more.

In another moment of local interest, Robertson said if new quarterback Peyton Manning’s neck injury flares up again this year, “it would serve the Denver Broncos right” for the organization’s “shabby” treatment of Tim Tebow, a fellow evangelist.

The billboard does appear to mark a slight change in stance for Robertson. Earlier this year, he said that while he would support new ballot measures pertaining to the legalization of marijuana, he would not campaign for them.

However, the billboard that now features his likeness was raised by a campaign — the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Its members are singing Robertson’s praises, calling the support of a right-wing advocate “especially powerful.”

“Mr. Robertson has decried the massive amount of money wasted on arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people for marijuana-related offenses,” Betty Aldworth, the campaign’s advocacy director, said. “We hope folks will take this opinion into consideration as they cast their votes on Amendment 64 this November.”

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