Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) may be leaving Congress at the end of this term, but he’s not giving up his push to legalize pot.
Frank is so passionate about legalization that he admits he shares ground with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
“Ron and I are in great agreement on this. We’re in great agreement on not banning gambling,” Frank said yesterday on CNN. “He and I — we differ on the economic situation, because I think economics inevitably involves other people.”
The congressman said he doesn’t smoke pot, though.
“I smoke a cigar or two a day. I did have a brownie once and it made me sleepy. But, you know, I don’t gamble either,” he said.
Frank said he’s motivated by personal freedom, but wants to “free up government resources to do things that that I think are important in improving the quality of life without having to raise taxes.”
“At the federal level, that means cutting military spending. At the state level, it means not spending as much as we do on prisons,” he said. “…One of the best things we can do to reduce state expenditures is to stop going after people who use marijuana.”
Frank used the analogy of Prohibition. “Instead of being a drain our resources, we could tax it, like everything else and it would be a contribution,” he said.
“If you look at the arrests for marijuana: Disproportionately, they come from people in minority groups and there are a lot of highly educated and upper income white kids who smoke it. They’re much less likely to get arrested,” he said. “…So, it adds a degree of social disorganization and cost and it’s an impingement on personal freedom.”