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Christene Roberts and Aliyah Shahid report: "A liberal Massachusetts Democrat and a libertarian from Texas are unlikely allies in a stoner-friendly cause: legalizing marijuana. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Tex.) will introduce legislation Thursday that would allow states to make their own rules concerning the drug."

Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary. (photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Jars full of medical marijuana are seen at Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary. (photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Ron Paul, Barney Frank Push for Legalizing Marijuana

By Christene Roberts and Aliyah Shahid, New York Daily News

23 June 11


liberal Massachusetts Democrat and a libertarian from Texas are unlikely allies in a stoner-friendly cause: legalizing marijuana.

Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Tex.) will introduce legislation Thursday that would allow states to make their own rules concerning the drug.

The feds would still be able to bust cross-border and inter-state smuggling, but the bill, if passed, also would permit people to grow and sell marijuana in states that approved the measure.

It's the first bill ever to be introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.

"The legislation would limit the federal government's role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal," the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said in a statement.

More than a dozen states allow the sale of medical pot, but the practice is illegal under federal law, which has led to conflicts between local and federal authorities.

Paul, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, has been a long proponent of legalizing drugs as part of his libertarian stance of limited government. His office did not immediately return requests for comment.

"We do not believe that the federal government ought to be involved in prosecuting adults for using marijuana," said Frank during a press conference. "We believe this should be the state's responsibility. We don't have enough room in prisons. We don't have enough prosecutors. If adults wish to smoke marijuana, it is their personal freedom."

Frank added that while he doesn't expect the measure to pass in Congress, "it's an educational process that's going on."

Morgan Fox, communications manager at the Marijuana Policy Project, agreed.

"It could be held up by anybody that wants to put a hold on in Congress," he told the Daily News. "The important thing is that it's starting a conversation among lawmakers at a time when the rest of the country is already talking about the failure of marijuana prohibition."

Other co-sponsors of the bill include Tennessee Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). your social media marketing partner


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+23 # rm 2011-06-23 19:47
Why wouldn't it pass in congress. Doesn't the USG spend about forty billion a year on the drug war. I guess most of that money is spent in Colombia and Mexico, but surely congress would see that it could save billions if marijuana were decriminalized or legalized.

There is something really wrong with a nation that locks people in prison for using a drug.
+3 # photonracer 2011-06-24 18:16
Quoting rm:
Why wouldn't it pass in congress. Doesn't the USG spend about forty billion a year on the drug war. I guess most of that money is spent in Colombia and Mexico, but surely congress would see that it could save billions if marijuana were decriminalized or legalized.

There is something really wrong with a nation that locks people in prison for using a drug.

rm What you are not thinking of are the professional prison management companies. They get paid by the "head". My state of AZ is big business for prisons. We even import prisoners from other states because my state government provides a near perfect business climate for these companies. The contracts are very lucrative. The state is responsible for inmate healthcare and meals. The state or Feds build the prison and own the property, very low overhead. My governor (bless her pea pickin' soul) had her re-election managed by the CEO of Corrections Corp. of America. These parasites don't make money when the crimes don't exist. Follow the money.
0 # gcavener 2011-06-26 18:17
The reason Congress won't pass it is BECAUSE they spend "forty billion a year" on the drug war. They buy a lot of financial support with that big pot of money. In California nothing happens that the prison guard union doesn't support. California tried to partially legalize marijuana. The prison guard union wasn't about to allow it. It might have cost them some union dues.
+25 # James38 2011-06-23 22:14
The Drug War has been a miserable failure from the beginning. Countries that have legalized drugs have seen major improvements, including less drug use and better health. Portugal legalized drugs to help stop the spread of AIDS. That was accomplished, and there were many more benefits. Legalizing Marijuana is just a first step toward legalizing all drugs. One major benefit would be saving Mexico from the horrible epidemic of crime and murder. The simplest Phrase that summarizes the foolishness of the Drug War is "Drug Laws Make Drug Lords". Prohibition only leads to major increases in crime. We need treatment programs for the few who have substance abuse problems, and we would save lives and billions of dollars.
+9 # ricbee 2011-06-24 06:55
The world will be a better place if this is done.
+11 # Rick Levy 2011-06-23 23:52
This measure is long overdue.
+9 # Ralph Averill 2011-06-24 02:10
"A liberal Massachusetts Democrat and a libertarian from Texas are unlikely allies in a stoner-friendly cause: legalizing marijuana."
"Stoner-friendly"? Are laws allowing someone to drink a glass of cabernet "wino-friendly"?
Watch for Big Pharma and the "boozer-friendl y" lobby to go to the walls to crush this movement.
+5 # Glen 2011-06-24 08:50
They will either crush it, Ralph, or control it. One way or another, they will benefit if it comes about. The article says it is up to each state to make decisions, also. I live in a state where legalization would come only in a cold day in hell.
+12 # head out the window 2011-06-24 04:29
marijuana is the primary expression of widespread anarchism in the us. the only reason it is illegal is because it is beyond government control, its economy is beyond government control and taxation. marjuana can be grown anywhere by anyone and represents an anarchistic threat to both government and corporations ability to subjegate (sic)every human activity. There is also a huge government financed industry in its suppression, local, state and federal and privat police, prosecutors, jailers, probation officers, probably a couple of million people in the us alone are fianancially dependent on prohibition of marijuana. Let alone the influence of the alcohol lobby, can you think of anything more threatening to Budweiser sales than a non-addictive substance that is cheaper, a better buzz with less side effects and can be grown at home? of course there is one more factor, the slight halucinogenic properties of pot tend to make you think that a whole lot of what you are being told is bunk, with the exception that potato chips are good for you of course.
+8 # Monty Gee 2011-06-24 04:51
Excellent idea to legalize pot. Should have happened a long time back. Could even become the US's biggest export commodity, given the investments made in cross-breeding strains from round the world.
+6 # abby in N.H. 2011-06-24 05:35
I'm so glad to see this subject come up more often. It makes me hopeful that reason is still alive. I'm not hopeful that anything will change though. As usual, too many are making too much $$$. It used to be considered a death to ones political career if even mentioned, so there's a little progress.
+5 # feloneouscat 2011-06-24 06:08
Merely because something is a failure does not mean it will not be continued to be funded.

Exhibit A: Iraq War - we never found weapons of mass destruction. In fact, we KNEW there were none (we had inspectors tell us that). We invaded and killed hundreds of thousands of people anyway. EPIC FAIL

Exhibit B: We will remain in Afghanistan for reasons that remain unclear. I guess we like the food? I don't know. EPIC FAIL

Exhibit C: We literally GAVE money to the oil industry in a time when they were making record profits. So far, these subsidies do not appear to be on the table.

These are examples of things that cost money which had no logical reason for occurring: but damn didn't someone feel good for doing it. Almost like they were doing something...
+5 # boudreaux 2011-06-24 06:23
What a waste of spending, we have seen in the past that spending any money on drugs has been a failure but they keep spending on it. Legalizing Marijuana should be out of the hands of goverment. It would be another way for them to keep confusion in the way of politics.
Drug rehabs don't work, if a person want to clean up they will. We have wasted more money on these programs that don't work and sent more people out on the streets to use again. It is as lenient as the way they have treated drunk drivers and that isn't working when they will give you at least 9 times before jail time...stupid!! ! and they kill.. I've never seen a pot head driving at 25 MPR killing anyone..most of the people that want to smoke are small timers and not involved in large amounts of pot, it is the goverment that makes it illegal that turns it into a war, if they would just let these people who want to smoke alone they would not have these homegrown problems. And they have drumbed into our heads that people who smoke don't work which is more praproganda, I know alot of people who hold high positions and just want to be left alone and not have to worry about passing a piss test to keep their jobs and work. It's not like they are taking anything from the goverment to live off of...I say leave them alone and let them live their lives....FREE
+5 # Pancho 2011-06-24 07:23
It is refreshing to see that Congress will actually be forced to recognize that the questionable basis of this law, written as an anti-Hispanic measure three quarters of a century ago, needs to be reexamined. I can't imagine that it will pass, even though the faux-libertaria n Koch brothers were able to elect almost a hundred new congressional representatives . The marching orders that those hacks are given are three:

Preserve the rich from equitable and progressive taxation.

Prevent passage and/or enforcement of any regulation that possibly hinders the unchecked capitalistic exploitation of the environment or working people.

In order to preserve the hegemony of the wealthy, pass measures that inhibit the ability of the poor, working class and organized labor from influencing the democratic process and obstructing exercise of the franchise of citizenship through various forms of suppression of voting.
+6 # phrixus 2011-06-24 07:27
Today's Headlines (in a perfect world):
"US ends failed drug war and invests savings in schools. Children learn geography, math, science, ethics and how to be decent human beings."
"US terminates Afgan, Iraq and Libya wars - saving twenty billion dollars a week. Invests in green jobs, fights global warming, pays down deficit, rebuilds decaying infrastructure, provides single-payer health care and guarantees solvency of Social Security and Medicare through the twenty-second century."
"US ends previous policy of violating sovereignty of other nations in order to steal resources. Future international relationships to be based on cooperation rather than competition."
"All future elected or appointed government officials must be certified as having an IQ equal to or higher than plankton. Part two: Sociopath's need not apply (sorry Michelle.)"
"US military forces stand down from high alert when unidentified inbound objects are confirmed as monkeys flying out of Rush Limbaugh's butt."

"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain
+4 # Cailleach 2011-06-24 11:04
This is why I read comments. An IQ equal to or higher than plankton? I used to say sea slugs You've done me one better.
-4 # VSweet 2011-06-24 08:03
Our nation is legalizing drugs, the right to carry concealed weapons, stripping away our right to vote, privitizing Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, underminig the poor and the disadvantage.

Please wake me up from this NIGHTMARE!!!
+6 # Jim Rocket 2011-06-24 12:04
I'm not sure legalizing drugs belongs with the other issues here.
+3 # Capn Canard 2011-06-24 08:12
I hope that lawmakers can pull their heads out but I am not gonna hold my breath. Hey James38, then there is the famous headline from the Onion: Drugs Win Drug War! The prohibition of anything leads to far more trouble than it solves. Even the world's oldest profession is spider web for women forced against their will into that personal hell. Make it legal and REGULATE it and then you can regain control. Whereas the status quo is that it is outlawed thus WE HAVE NO CONTROL. There are other issues that fly over our heads: the healthcare issue-- they wanna get rid of Medicare to INCREASE PROFITS for the healthcare industry. Yeah, I know, like they need more profit, it is just a symptom of what is wrong with privatization, in that the profit motive erases the need to provide good quality product in favor of increased profit(in the case of healthcare:GOOD CARE THAT LEADS TO EFFECTIVE TREATMENTS rather than treatments that ring up bills that are unsustainable for the vast majority of people).

Also MEXICO! If they lost profits from Marijuana then the violence would decrease. If the demand for Crack, Meth and Heroin also decreased then their profits would dry up rather quickly, thus they wouldn't be able to arm so many thugs, etc etc. Violence is far more dangerous, widespread, and expensive when the "Morality Police" are keeping the books.
+6 # Capn Canard 2011-06-24 08:21
BTW, marijuana is a minor drug, virtually harmless in all respects. Unlike ALCOHOL, marijuana is not used by 70% plus of people(and that is why ALCOHOL is legal) but Marijuana use is more like 5% or 10% and use spikes then subsides because, unlike ALCOHOL, THC is not addictive.
+5 # Martintfre 2011-06-24 08:35
Holy cow .. Barny Frank got something right. Have the government get the hell out of the way.
+3 # bobby t. 2011-06-24 10:11
another opponant of the legalization of mj would be the big drug companies.
many drugs, including mj and cocaine, are sexual enhancers. so, maybe viagra sales may go down, or maybe up. if up, expect drug company support, if down opposition.
everything is hyperthetical because the country is not ready for sanity. it needs to suffer more. and then maybe, it will be too late anyway.
however, it is nice to just think about.
a sane society. erich fromm would be proud.....btw: expect barney frank and ron paul to be targets of the tea party, the same party that is supposed to be for small goverment. if anything interfers with big profits, or more importantly, big big big corruption up to the highest levels, from the cop on the street to the white house, it is crushed. those states that allow medical mj should be proud of themselves. muy bueno....
+2 # Anarchist 23 2011-06-24 11:32
Quoting the late Molly Ivins, quoting an anonymous rhymn about the original 'drug war' Prohibition: Prohibition is an awful flop; We like it. It can't stop what it's meant to stop; We like it. It's left a trail of graft and slime; It's filled our land with vice and crime; It don't prohibit worth a dime. Nevertheless, we're for it!"
0 # Dave_s Not Here 2011-06-24 12:08
Here in Canada, the right-wing federal government has just announced that it intends to lock up all the medical marijuana business for itself and its business collaborators. A neat trick they pulled... They licensed a few thousand growers and users which helped them compile a list of folks who's doors they'll send their hired thugs (police) to kick down as soon as the new regulations are enacted.

The fools don't realize that this won't even put the slightest dent in the recreational marijuana market.
+2 # mtnview 2011-06-24 14:35
The opponents of Marijuana legalization in California last year, 3 weeks before the vote, were the Pharmaceutical companies and the liquor companies. The understand their sales would be impacted. Money controls this policy, as it does everything else. Please thank your legislators who co-sponsor this bill.
+1 # cblf14 2011-06-25 21:39
End the war on drugs. It is a total waste of money and time.
+1 # SouthBrun 2011-06-26 12:43
I agree that legalization of marijuana should be passed. I also think that prior to the passage of that law should come one to legalize the growing of hemp. It would boost the income of farmers and not cost the taxpayer a cent.
+1 # Eternal_Truth 2011-06-27 14:02
Why won't it happen? Follow the money:
-pharmaceutical industry
-oil industry
-coal industry
-cotton industry
-lumber industry

How much money can you give your reps to vote against the billions given to them by these industries who would be seriously hurt by the legalization of marijuana/hemp. If we want government and laws for the people, we will first have to make it illegal for corporations to buy politicians. End of story.
+1 # wounded1 2011-12-12 13:32
I suffer every day and night, excruciating pain from having broken back, spinal reconstruction with removal of vertabrea and discs, have metal implants. Nerve pain drives me to tears. I also have Fibromyalgia, Osteo Arthritis, COPD, PTSD. I'm on prescription drugs that are bad drugs that after time don't work. I'm not living, I'm in bed trying to escape.I am very angry that people in other states can have pain relief by using Medical Marijuana, but I can't. It's not right. I am no less a human than anyone else. I want the right to use medical marijuana. Please do everything you can to get it legalized in Massachusetts. thank you.

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