Fox News host Bill O’Reilly defends the War on Drugs claiming that drug charges for juvenile offenders can't hurt their prospects in life and that legalizing marijuana will only make it easier for kids to get drugs.
On his Monday night show O’Reilly asked “Is America becoming a weaker nation because of pot and Internet abuse?”
He spoke with Fox contributor Juan Williams and columnist Mary Katharine Ham on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Both argued that the War on Drugs has had a largely negative impact, which O’Reilly denied.
“Primarily the left embraces the drug culture to some extent,” O’Reilly claimed. “Let's begin with the left. What is it about the drug culture, the internet culture, that's so compelling for some of them?”
“Well, I don't think it's compelling, but I think that if you start to arrest their children and give them records and put barriers in front of their futures and their careers, I think people say ‘Wait a second.’ As you said in the previous segment, this is soft drug use, why are you arresting and giving this kid a record, especially minority kids disproportionately. They're the ones who get arrested,” Williams responded.
“So by your thinking then, people fear for their children so they want to make drugs more available. Let's legalize them so they don't get a rap sheet,” O’Reilly argued. He added that juvenile have nothing to fear about getting arrested because the record will eventually be expunged.
"It's almost impossible. The records are expunged if they're juveniles. You know what the game is here. This is not a crime that is actively pursued by district attorneys. All right. I'm just going to discount that argument, Juan,” O’Reilly said. “Mary Katherine, you’re more sympathetic to this drug culture and internet culture world, but do you not see that it is going to weak the country?”
“Look, I think anything that’s not in moderation can be a problem, does that mean it has to be outlawed? No.”
She went on to argue that drug policy and enforcement is inefficient, but O’Reilly interrupted.
“That’s not the issue here. Mary Katherine, you’ve got a baby. You want that baby to be smoking pot … when that baby is 13, 14 years old, do you want the baby to be smoking ‘in moderation’?” O’Reilly asked.
“I would rather not have her smoking weed,” she responded.
“Why would you not have your child - Answer my question!” he interrupted again.
“No, I’m answering the question by saying it doesn’t have to be illegal because I can step in and handle things, and the fact is that freedom is far less likely to be damaging than paternalism and a nanny state!”
“Mary Katharine, you’re babbling,” O’Reilly said. “You don’t want to engage in a conversation.”
“No, I’m saying clear words and making an argument to you," she said.
“No, you’re babbling," he said.
“In the current regime and if pot were legalized, under both, it would be illegal for children. And arguably is could be harder to get for children if it were regulated by the state,” Ham said later in the segment.
Despite his primarily libertarian views, O’Reilly has long been an opponent of decriminalizing marijuana. He was upset in December when the Denver Post hired a marijuana editor.