Dec 302012
 December 30, 2012

barney frank marijuana momentumBy Rob Kampia, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project

I attended a progressive event with MPP’s Morgan Fox in D.C. last Tuesday, where Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Barney Frank (D-MA) both spoke.

Unsolicited — in front of the 60 or 70 activists and opinion leaders in attendance — Rep. Conyers made an off-handed criticism of the drug war, which was nice to hear.

And Rep. Frank spent most of his time at the microphone talking about the marriage-equality victories on November 6 in four states, saying a few times that the gay-rights community “must press our advantage.”

In other words, if the political momentum is on your side, you should use that momentum.

After their remarks, I chatted with Rep. Frank one-on-one.  (This would surely be the last time I speak to him before he retires from the U.S. House in January.)  After congratulating me on our wins in Colorado and Washington on November 6, he said to me, “We must press our advantage.”

In fact, that’s what we’re going to do with a new slate of ballot initiatives for November 2016, as well as congressional legislation to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference.

I want to thank Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul (R-TX) for their service in the U.S. House; both men are retiring on the same day, as it turns out.  They’ve made a wonderful contribution to the marijuana-policy-reform movement through their legislative leadership over the last three decades.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • http://twitter.com/raychristlTHC ray christl

    Well, thanks Mr Kampia for living the ‘beltway’ lifestyle for us . Let us indeed ‘press our advantage’.

  • Choom Gang

    Seasons greetings and may you all have a choom-ey new year.

  • DavidTheExpert

    “In fact, that’s what we’re going to do with a new slate of ballot initiatives for November 2016″

    I don’t understand this. It seems to me that every bit of momentum we picked up this year will have worn off by 2016. I don’t purport to be any political expert, but this doesn’t make any sense to me.

  • gonzo0013

    We have momentum NOW, so why in the world are these people focused on waiting another four years until another presidential election? This makes absolutely no sense, because this should not be an issue for the ballots — it is an issue of civil liberties, medical freedom and a horribly failed prohibition that is getting massive media exposure RIGHT NOW!

    Don’t be content waiting another four years while our economy goes down the tubes and more innocent people are fed into the prison system. Don’t make light of the fact that Obama has said the government has more important things to do than arrest recreational users — PRESS OUR ADVANTAGE NOW! There is already a major court battle going on to reschedule (or, preferably, deschedule) the herb in accordance with how the Controlled Substances Act says the Attorney General needs to react when a “schedule I narcotic” is found to be a safe and effective medicine… Prohibitionists don’t have a leg left to stand on — roughly eighty percent of the nation knows our drug war is failing and supports the right to use cannabis as medicine.

    Even the mainstream media is waking up and getting impatient for change,
    as organizations like MPP and NORML sadly keep their heads in the
    sand. Waiting four more years, just to further push the issue in certain states, while ignoring the current contradiction of our federal CSA and deceptive promises from the President is a terrible waste of time, money and lives. Ballot initiatives are no longer the answer; public outrage and jury nullification will end this war long before 2016, if our so-called leaders actually decide to embrace change instead of feeding more useless bureaucracy.

  • malcolmkyle

    Another four years? Somebody’s been smoking something and it definitely isn’t anything mind-expanding!

    Legally regulated (manufacture, distribution and consumption) of marijuana is coming to a state near you in 2013:

    CALIFORNIA

    “These laws just don’t make sense anymore. It’s shocking, from my perspective, the number of people that we all know who are recreational marijuana users… these are incredibly upstanding citizens: Leaders in our community, and exceptional people.”
    —Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (preparing the way for Governor Jerry Brown to initiate proceedings to legalize and regulate marijuana through the state legislature)

    MAINE

    Maine’s legislature is moving on a legalization-and-regulation bill that could bring the state $8 million a year in new revenue.

    ”The people are far ahead of the politicians on this. Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen the culture shift dramatically.”
    —Rep. Diane Russell of Portland, District 120 (Occupation: Public Relations Consultant)

    NEVADA

    “Thinking we’re not going to have it is unrealistic. It’s just a question of how and when”
    —Assemblyman Richard (Tick) Segerblom of Las Vegas, elected to the Nevada State Senate in 2012

    OREGON

    “We have decades of evidence that says prohibition does not work and it’s counterproductive. it’s a matter of dollars and common sense. There’s a source of revenue that’s reasonable that is rational that is the right policy choice for our state. We are going to get there on legalization.”
    —Peter Buckley, co-chair of the Oregon state legislature’s budget committee.

    RHODE ISLAND

    Rhode Island is also expected to legally regulate marijuana through the state legislature instead of a popular referendum.

    ”Our prohibition has failed, Legalizing and taxing it, just as we did to alcohol, is the way to do it.”
    —Rep. Edith Ajello, chairs the House Committee on Judiciary and is a member of the House Oversight Committee.

    VERMONT

    In November 2012, the state’s Democratic governor, Peter Shumlin, cruised to re-election while strongly backing marijuana decriminalization. And the city of Burlington passed a resolution in November 2012 calling for an end to prohibition – with 70 percent support.

    ALASKA

    Most Alaskans already have a clear view of things from their own back garden. Personal use and possession of Marijuana in Alaskan homes has been effectively legal since 1975.

  • piepaw

    I’m in agreement with those here advocating the need to press the advantage NOW! I’m also glad that we have people like Kampia and Fox and others from a wide range of organizations who are looking out for the long-term solutions as well. All work in the direction of legalization is good work.