The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has launched a new billboard promoting Colorado's marijuana legalization initiative, Amendment 64 -- this time featuring conservative evangelist icon Pat Robertson.
The digital billboard, located on the I-70 Business Loop just west of Main Street in Grand Junction, Colo., features an image of Robertson and reads: "Pat Robertson would vote YES on 64. Will you?"
Back in March, Robertson took to the airwaves of "The 700 Club" condemning arrests for marijuana possession. "I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in a prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance," Robertson said according to Reason Magazine. "It's time we stop locking up people for possession of marijuana."
(SCROLL DOWN FOR A PHOTO OF THE BILLBOARD)
Then a week later Robertson echoed those sentiments in an interview with the New York Times saying, "I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I've never used marijuana and I don't intend to, but it's just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs hasn't succeeded."
"As a widely recognized conservative and evangelical leader, Mr. Robertson's endorsement is especially powerful," Betty Aldworth, advocacy director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said in press statement. "Many people are familiar with Pat Robertson and appreciate his opinions. In this case, his opinion is that it makes absolutely no sense to allow adults to use alcohol, yet punish them for using marijuana. Mr. Robertson has also decried the massive amount of money wasted on arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people for marijuana-related offenses. We hope folks will take this opinion into consideration as they cast their votes on Amendment 64 this November."
Robertson's remarks were lauded by pro-marijuana groups and he has become a surprising symbol of the fight for marijuana legalization. He also voices a more and more common point of view that a growing number of politicians and public figures have about the drug war -- that it's been failure.
Newark, N.J. Mayor Corry Booker has been a vocal in his criticisms of the war on drugs, calling it a failure and a policy that unfairly targets the black population. Booker took to Reddit on Sunday to blast the war on drugs again saying it was ineffective and "represents big overgrown government at its worst."
Booker's statements echo that of Ron Paul, who has been loudly stating his opposition to the United States' drug policies for decades. Paul, during a run for president in 1988, explained to a National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws meeting that he believed that the drug war in the U.S. had racist origins.
Earlier in July, another New Jersey politician, Gov. Chris Christie, slammed the now 40-year-old war on drugs as well saying in no uncertain terms, "The war on drugs, while well-intentioned, has been a failure."
This is the third billboard the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol organization has launched in Colorado. The first, which went up in Denver, featured a woman stating her preference for marijuana over alcohol. And the second, which went up across from Mile High Stadium, featured a father asking for the regulation of legal marijuana to keep it out of his son's hands.
Amendment 64 appears to be quite popular amongst Colorado voters. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll from earlier in June showed 61 percent of likely Colorado voters are in favor of legalizing marijuana.
That is the highest percentage of Colorado voter support that any marijuana legalization poll has shown to date. In December of 2011, a similar poll from Public Policy Polling showed only 49 percent in favor of general legalization of marijuana.
The marijuana legalization initiative also recently received support from both Republicans and Democrats -- in March, 56 percent of the delegates at the Denver County Republican Assembly voted to support the legislation, and in April, the Denver Democratic Party officially endorsed Amendment 64 and added a marijuana legalization plank to the current party platform.
LOOK: Pat Robertson marijuana legalization billboard in Grand Junction
Below, where you can find legalized medical marijuana in the United States: