Lift a Joint to PUMRAA

Presumably because April 20 is a Sunday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) today introduced his briefly anticipated marijuana decriminalization bill. Dubbed the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, it would eliminate federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three and a half ounces) of marijuana and the nonprofit transfer of up to an ounce. This is similar to the change recommended by the Nixon-appointed National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (a.k.a. the Shafer Commission) 36 years ago. As in the case of online gambling, Frank sounds libertarian on this issue:

To those who say that the government should not be encouraging the smoking of marijuana, my response is that I completely agree. But it is a great mistake to divide all human activity into two categories: those that are criminally prohibited, and those that are encouraged. In a free society, there must be a very considerable zone of activity between those two poles in which people are allowed to make their own choices as long as they are not impinging on the rights, freedom, or property of others. I believe it is important with regard to tobacco, marijuana and alcohol, among other things, that we strictly regulate the age at which people may use these substances. And, enforcement of age restrictions should be firm. But, criminalizing choices that adults make because we think they are unwise ones, when the choices involved have no negative effect on the rights of others, is not appropriate in a free society.

Guess who the lone co-sponsor is.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Y'know, I probably don't agree with Barney Frank on anything else, but major props to him for introducing this. Someday, our descendants will look back on the Drug War era and be alternately amused and horrified.

  • ||

    But the co-sponsor is not a Cosmotarian! Crucify him! Crucify him!

  • Guy Montag||

    So, will it be legal even at the Jefferson Memorial?

  • ||

    As an irresponsible adult, I resent Representative Frank's implication that I should be arrested for peacefully smoking MJ...

  • Dave B.||

    Guy - It'll be legal everywhere, unless cops see you doing it. That would be interfering with a public official or something.

  • Colin||

    As it's an election year, I predict there will be only two Yeas for this bill. If that.

  • Dave B.||

    According to the summary of the law, wouldn't it still be a crime to have bought any amount of marijuana? So assuming passage of the law, it would still be pretty easy to convict people for possession.

  • ||

    I can't wait to hear/read the floor speeches from the 'nay' side of this. Should be entertaining, which is to say infuriating.

  • the innominate one||

    Paul/ Frank '08?

  • ||

    Don't hold your breath.

    (Unless, of course, you've just toked.)

  • ||

    To quote RC Dean, "So, how's that liberaltarian thing working out?"

  • ||


    John-David | April 17, 2008, 5:13pm | #

    I can't wait to hear/read the floor speeches from the 'nay' side of this. Should be entertaining, which is to say infuriating.




    Why wait? They're already on the DEA website.

  • duster||

    I can't wait to hear/read the floor speeches from the 'nay' side of this.

    I'm sure we already have many times over. It will make for a nice anthology of drug war bullshit, though.

  • Episiarch||

    Drugs are bad, mm-kay?

  • ||

    I never thought I was say this, but "Go Barney!"

  • Follo||

    Further proof that the gays are right about everything.

  • Taktix®||

    Cue Casey and his worn-out joke in 3...2...1...

  • Rimfax||

    Constant Comment,

    Pardon me for feeding the paleos, but this all-or-nothing bullshit is exactly what cosmos hate about paleos. The idea that seriously criticizing Paul's past actions (and inactions) is a form of ideological apostasy is simply defective thinking. I still strongly support him as a politician and I will continue to criticize his years of complicity in and his faint condemnations of the newsletters written in his name.

  • ||

    I like, even grugingly admire, Barney Frank. He's full of bovine feces on economic issues, but in the personal freedom realm, he friggin' rocks.

    Of course, everybody here guessed the co-sponsor correctly.

  • ||

    Barney would take my guns; force me into fedgov 3rd world monopoly healthcare, tax me till my eyes pop from my head, but hey, I can keep 3oz weed...what a guy...or is that soma?

  • ||

    Drugs are bad, mm-kay?

    I don't follow. Could you dumb it down a shade?

  • ||

    To quote RC Dean, "So, how's that liberaltarian thing working out?"

    Wake me when it passes.

  • ||

    3rd world monopoly healthcare

    So, most of Europe is 3rd world?

  • loonidood||

    You know, one of the biggest results of this would be to the workforce; people would no longer avoid certain jobs, like utility worker, or manufacturing, just because they drug test. The workforce would be revitalized by the people who would be eligible to work for many major corporations.

  • Elemenope||

    He's full of bovine feces on economic issues...

    Wha? Ron Paul named him as one of his greatest allies in beating up on the Federal Reserve.

    What you probably meant was *fiscal* issues, i.e. taxes and expenditures by government. Yeah, on those he's a pinko liberal.

  • TallDave||

    Wow, great news.

    Barney Frank for Veep!

    That might actually make me vote Obama.

  • TallDave||

    As an irresponsible adult, I resent Representative Frank's implication that I should be arrested for peacefully smoking MJ...

    lawl

  • ||

    He's full of bovine feces on economic issues...

    Barney Frank was warning about a mortage insolvency crisis when the small government were impersonating Kevin Bacon in the final scene of Animal House.

    You might disagree with the values and principles that guide him on economic matters, but he's about half again as smart and knowledgeable about them as any of us.

  • ||

    but hey, I can keep 3oz weed...what a guy...or is that soma?

    And you could gamble online

  • Paul||

    In a free society, there must be a very considerable zone of activity between those two poles in which people are allowed to make their own choices as long as they are not impinging on the rights, freedom, or property of others.



    Mr. Frank makin' any enemies over there in the Big D party? I'm going to squirrel this quote away, save it, and throw it in peoples faces at the most inopportune time.

  • Sean Hannity||

    Bobb Barr wants legalize Heroin & turn your daughters into prostitutes.

  • LarryA||

    Dubbed the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, it would eliminate federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three and a half ounces) of marijuana and the nonprofit transfer of up to an ounce.

    So you have to go to four dealers to get a full 3.5oz, and they have to be non-profit so the government gets no taxes. Congressional logic at its finest.

  • ||

    What you probably meant was *fiscal* issues, i.e. taxes and expenditures by government. Yeah, on those he's a pinko liberal.

    I stand corrected. Salamat.

  • ||

    Barney Frank was warning about a mortage insolvency crisis when the small government were impersonating Kevin Bacon in the final scene of Animal House.

    I remain completely unconvinced of a "mortgage insolvency crisis". But when you are into government intervention of markets, crisises are easy to find.

    Look, the florists are having trouble! It's a crisis! Uncle Sam to the rescue!

  • ||

    Son of a gun, they're going metric?

    J sub,

    Fine. You're on an island. You're either going to look prophetic, or incredibly silly.

  • ||

    Christ!

    You Libertarian folks are not happy if your not bludgeoning a gift horse to death with baseball bats.

    With support from folks like you all Frank should have kept his mouth shut and not written anything.

    Political drug war abolitionist types my right now be exploring ideas for advancing this bill in the political season and make or it what hay we can. But here almost all that I see is snide homophobia and defeatism.

    What a load of shit you folks are.

  • ||

    Pat,
    Only one comment mentioned his sexuality and was positive as far as I can tell.

    an aside: can trolls exist on pablum?

  • ||

    I move that use of the word "pablum" be restricted to threads on Morton Downey Jr.

  • SIV||

    Some doper above(loonidood) thinks Frank's law would end drug testing. Employers can fire/not hire you for using tobacco.

  • ||

    Fine. You're on an island. You're either going to look prophetic, or incredibly silly.

    Probably neither. The government will pass some sort of bailout, toss in some next to useless regulatory overhaul and the "crisis" will be ending just as it starts taking effect. This will be cited by idiots as evidence that market intervention works.

  • ||

    It's rather disgusting that nobody else in the entire congress has the guts to join Frank and Paul on this common-sense issue.

    I think I'll have to write to that worthless cow who supposedly represents me about this.

    -jcr

  • Taktix®||

    Probably neither. The government will pass some sort of bailout, toss in some next to useless regulatory overhaul and the "crisis" will be ending just as it starts taking effect. This will be cited by idiots as evidence that market intervention works.

    In the words of Larry the Liquidator: "You can change all the laws you want. You can't stop the game. I'll still be here. I adapt."

  • ||

    It's rather disgusting that nobody else in the entire congress has the guts to join Frank and Paul on this common-sense issue.

    When you consider that 60% or more are in safe districts it gets even more disgusting. These people are supposed to be intelligent. Just off the top of my head, locally, Reps John Conyers and John Dingell can not be ousted. They are in the dead girl/live boy territory.

  • robc||

    joe,

    he's about half again as smart and knowledgeable about them as any of us.

    Speak for yourself.

    Frank has his good points. Plus he's funny. But he isnt smarter than me on anything.

  • robc||

    jcr,


    I think I'll have to write to that worthless cow who supposedly represents me about this.


    After being "represented" for 10 years by the Queen of Pork, the last 2 years I have been "represented" by a left winger who didnt feel the need to co-sponsor this. I think I will join you in writing to him.

  • ||

    Kudos to Rep. Frank. I'll drop my Congressman a line...not that I expect it to do any good...

  • ||

    robc, responding to joe:

    "[joe] he's about half again as smart and knowledgeable about them as any of us.

    Speak for yourself.

    Frank has his good points. Plus he's funny. But he isnt smarter than me on anything."
    -----
    Ahem...I think that's "he isn't smarter than I on anything..."

  • Steve Trinward||

    Barney Frank has been a CIVIL libertarian all his life; he also knows the evils of overseas interventionism; he has at least half a clue on regulation issues, and comprehends economics to a small extent (he's basically yet to see a "free market" in real life, so he can't embrace it ...)

    He was the person I chose to speak at the LP Convention in Boston, 1978, at the Candidates Cocktail Party (about 100 or so attended from all across the land). He would still be high on the list in a similar situation.

    Ignoring his basically libertarian approach to most issues, while embracing the positions of right-wingers who still don't get it on social issues ... is a big part of why the LP has never outgrown the frog-pond

  • robc||

    RL,

    To quote one of my linguistics professors:

    "Language is descriptive, not prescriptive".

    The 19th century "experts", who made up a bunch of english grammar rules, were wrong.

  • Jim Walsh||

    Dear Congressman Pomeroy:

    Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) today introduced his briefly anticipated marijuana decriminalization bill. Dubbed the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, it would eliminate federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three and a half ounces) of marijuana and the nonprofit transfer of up to an ounce. This is similar to the change recommended by the Nixon-appointed National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (a.k.a. the Shafer Commission) 36 years ago.

    Speaking most emphatically as someone who is not a marijuana user, I nontheless applaud Rep. Frank for taking this step. As unpopular as it may be to do so, I hope you will seriously consider supporting Rep. Frank and his efforts at ending this most wasteful and pointless aspect of the so-called War on Drugs.

    Sincerely yours,

    James A. Walsh
    Bismarck

    (Yeah, yeah, I know...voice in the wilderness, and all that. At least give me brownie points for the effort...)

  • ||

    I can't wait to hear/read the floor speeches from the 'nay' side of this.

    Floor speeches? HAHAHA! This bad puppy will probably not even get a committee hearing, much less get to the floor for speeches. You really think Nancy Pelosi has the stones (ovaries?) to let this get a serious hearing?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Ahem...I think that's "he isn't smarter than I on anything..."

    I believe that members of the Grammar Police are required to provide id and badge numbers BEFORE posting.

  • ||

    Ahem...I think that's "he isn't smarter than I on anything..."

    Ahem!

    I am, as in, not smarter than I AM on anything.

    Besides were not writin' doctoral thee-sees in English Lit here, and everyone knew what he meant.

  • Edward||

    "Ignoring his [Frank's] basically libertarian approach to most issues, while embracing the positions of right-wingers who still don't get it on social issues ... is a big part of why the LP has never outgrown the frog-pond."

    Finally, somebody speaks some sense!

  • TallDave||

    but hey, I can keep 3oz weed...what a guy...or is that soma? And you could gamble online

    But could I gamble my weed online? And if I win more than 3 oz, am I breaking the law?

  • TallDave||

    Ahem...I think that's "he isn't smarter than I on anything..."

    Actually, "me" is correct. "I" is for subject, "me" is for object.

    Incorrect: She hit I.
    Incorrect: Me hit her.
    Correct: She hit me. I hit her. She is not smarter than me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_%28pronoun%29

  • MK2||

    From Kristof's column in today's NY Times

    We seek out information that reinforces our prejudices. One study presented listeners with static-filled recordings of speeches that they believed they were judging on persuasive power. Listeners could push a button to tweak the signal, reducing the static to make it easier to understand. When smokers heard a speech connecting tobacco with cancer, they didn't try to improve the clarity to hear it more easily. But they pushed the button to get a clearer version of a speech saying that there was no link between smoking and cancer. Nonsmokers were the exact opposite.

    This resistance to information that doesn't mesh with our preconceived beliefs afflicts both liberals and conservatives, but a raft of studies shows that it is a particular problem with conservatives. For example, when voters receive mailings offering them free pamphlets on various political topics, liberals show some interest in getting conservative views. In contrast, conservatives seek only those pamphlets that echo their own views.

    Likewise, liberal blogs overwhelmingly link to other liberal blogs or news sources. But with conservative blogs, the tendency is much more pronounced; it is almost a sealed universe.

  • NP||

    RL,

    Frank has his good points. Plus he's funny. But he isnt smarter than me on anything."
    -----
    Ahem...I think that's "he isn't smarter than I on anything..."


    robc has already said what I wanted to say, so I'll just say that you should check out the following link before you say (sorry, couldn't resist) anything on grammar/style:

    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/t.html#thani

  • Guy Montag||

    Dave B.,

    Guy - It'll be legal everywhere, unless cops see you doing it. That would be interfering with a public official or something.

    I was just hoping that the cops would do something about those baked dancers. One or the other, not both, thank you!

    TD,

    But could I gamble my weed online? And if I win more than 3 oz, am I breaking the law?

    Wasn't that a Cheech & Chong bit?

  • NP||

    TallDave,

    Man, you really had to ask for it, did ya? Let's look at your authoritative grammar lesson:

    Correct: She hit me. I hit her. She is not smarter than me.

    The last sentence, without the omission, should have been "She is not smarter than I am." So technically "I" is correct, but again we use "me" instead in informal writing for a less stuffy tone.

  • NP||

    I see Iguana has already pointed that out. My bad.

  • NP||

    Eh, Iguana's post was before TallDave's, so... hell, why am I wasting my time on this? "I" or "me"... use whatever the hell you want. This is an online forum, after all.

  • ||

    Pumraa - wasn't that a character from Thundercats?

  • ||

    The only thing I'll add at this point is that the guy who was the commission staff head was my boss for 4 years (in a dope-unrelated job).

    He's an ego-maniac and a total fucking loon, but he's a helluva guy to have a couple beers with. Lots and lots of good stories. *And* he always buys.

  • ||

    Ah, let me add, the commission staff head for the Shafer Report.

  • ||

    I've had my issues with pronoun trouble.

  • Mickey Mouse||

    Pronourn trouble

    Daffy told Goofy that Minnie wanted to fuck him.

  • windycityatty||

    I thought that two separate bills were introduced. One to decriminalize as noted in this story - and one introduced by Dr Paul relating to medical freedom to use marijuana (essentially asking the feds to stop raids in states that have legalized, namely, california)

    I don't see any mention of medical issues herein nor anywhere else. Am i missing something?

    As an aside, I work across the street from the federal courthouse in Chicago. On the first floor there is a bar. Always fun to see a group of federal prosecutors, fresh off extracting pleas in drug cases no doubt, getting all slant eyed drunk before driving home to their families in the burbs. Fucking hypocrites. Wonderful to know that they will be our future legislators and judges.

    SERENITY NOW!!

  • JB||

    Light up another joint BarneyBoy but keep your hands off my butt. I'm tired of having your hands all over my butt trying to reach for my wallet. My wallet is in my pants which are on my body. Get your hands off my body and get your hands off my butt. Take your love for little polio-boy FDR and go shove it somewhere. Commie pinko scum. I applaud you for being right on one issue. Now get a clue and start on the rest.

  • TallDave||

    The last sentence, without the omission, should have been "She is not smarter than I am."

    That would be acceptable too, because you're creating a new verb for which I is the subject, but "me" is the correct form when it's the object.

    This gets misused sometimes. For instance, "Sally gave turnips to Jim, Fred, and I" is wrong.

  • TallDave||

    Oops no, that would be a preposition.

    Here's the wiki example:

    Incorrect: The teacher teaches you and I.
    Correct: The teacher teaches you and me

    Although, apparently the "complete" form is preferred in prepositional phrases.

    Also, using the objective pronoun for the second word in a comparison using the conjunction than is traditionally considered incorrect if a subjective pronoun would be necessary in the "full" form of the sentence.

    So I guess you're right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objective_%28grammar%29

  • ||

    I'd like to table a motion to grant Jim Walsh 15 special brownie points for sending a letter to his congressman. I might do the same if I know who my congressman was....
    (I know, shame on me)

  • Truetone Stratoscope||

    Can I get 15 special brownies if I write to my congressman?

  • ||

    In a free society, there must be a very considerable zone of activity between those two poles in which people are allowed to make their own choices as long as they are not impinging on the rights, freedom, or property of others.

    Word.

  • windycityatty||

    Another thing: There were more than one co-sponsor(s) of the bill introduced by Barney Frank besides Dr Paul. Dana Rohrbacher from CA along with a few others, to name just one.

  • Jennifer||

    Light up another joint BarneyBoy but keep your hands off my butt. I'm tired of having your hands all over my butt trying to reach for my wallet. My wallet is in my pants which are on my body. Get your hands off my body and get your hands off my butt. Take your love for little polio-boy FDR and go shove it somewhere. Commie pinko scum. I applaud you for being right on one issue. Now get a clue and start on the rest.

    If the bill passes, I suggest we all chip in to buy JB 3.5 ounces of powerful skunkweed and a small, tasteful, understated bong. If anybody here needs to chill out, it's him.

    On the other hand, he sounds paranoid enough already.

  • windycityatty||

    Anyone wishing to call their State reps to support Rep Frank's bill:

    The bill number is H.R. 5843 - according to Rep Frank's washington office.

    It could use a few hundred more co-sponsors.

  • ||

    "In a free society, the duty of the government is to
    protect individuals from others who might harm them;
    it is not the government's business to protect
    individuals from harming themselves."

    - Thomas Szasz, M.D.

  • windycityatty||

    And i was right - there are two bills. Rep Paul's bill is H.R. 5842. "Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act"

    WTF reason?? Celebrating 4/20 too early or something? :)

  • ||

    Probably neither. The government will pass some sort of bailout, toss in some next to useless regulatory overhaul and the "crisis" will be ending just as it starts taking effect.

    Yes, J sub, I have no doubt that there will be yet another astounding coincidence through which the eternal unerring perfection of libertarian economics will be unfairly hidden from view.

    There always is.

    No, really, I love your theory. No matter what happens, you can't be wrong.

  • ||

    robc, do you have to rub butter on the sides of your head in order to pass from room to room?

  • ||

    In a free society, there must be a very considerable zone of activity between those two poles in which people are allowed to make their own choices as long as they are not impinging on the rights, freedom, or property of others.


    So much more intelligent than:

    In a free society, that which is..."

  • ||

    "Ignoring his basically libertarian approach to most issues, while embracing the positions of right-wingers who still don't get it on social issues ... is a big part of why the LP has never outgrown the frog-pond"

    I tend to agree. In long run I think that it would be easier to get the Hippies to learn fiscal responsibility than it will be to get Charlie Church to leave the potheads alone. We can always tell the hippies to form a non-profit and give away much money away as they want, at least they won't end up unemployed or in jail due to their lifestyles.

  • ||

    Colin wrote: "As it's an election year, I predict there will be only two Yeas for this bill. If that."

    I dunno, isn't it an election year in California, too . . ?

  • correcting windycityatty||

    windycityatty: There are two bills, 5843 and 5842. Paul was the lone co-sponsor of 5843, and it's 5842 that had co-sponsors other than Paul. Reason's article is correct.

  • ||

    What the heck is a "non-profit transfer"?
    I suppose a gift would qualify ("smoke up, Johnny!") but what if you charged? Could you only charge your cost? What about a handling/storage fee? How could you prove your costs, especially if the amount you bought was above the 100g limit? Last time I bought (fictional scenario, of course) I don't remember getting a receipt.
    Isn't this anti-price-gouging legislation? If so, why should libertarians support it?

  • Shirley||

    Steve Twinward wrote:"....He would still be high on the list in a similar situation".

    Is that supposed to be funny ?

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement