With All Eyes on His Foreclosure Bill…
…Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) proved that there’s recreation on his mind as well. The House Financial Services Committee chairman introduced two bills Thursday that would legalize marijuana for personal use. One, which Frank has introduced before, would permit the medical use of the drug in states that have voted to allow it for those purposes. The other would eliminate the federal penalties for possessing the drug in small amounts.
Frank says that having federal law enforcement officials tackling the issue “is a waste of scarce resources better used for serious crimes.”
[T]he norm in America is for the states to decide whether particular behaviors should be made criminal. To make the smoking of marijuana, whether for medical purposes or not, one of those extremely rare instances of federal crime - literally, to make a ‘federal case’ out of it - is wholly disproportionate to the activity involved. We do not have federal criminal prohibitions against drinking alcoholic beverages, and there are generally no criminal penalties for the use of tobacco at the state and federal levels for adults. There is no rational argument for treating marijuana so differently from these other substances.
Both bills are bipartisan, which would surprise only those unfamiliar with the late William F. Buckley, a long-time supporter of marijuana legalization.