Feb 072016
 February 7, 2016

earl blumenauer barney frank ncia marijuana cannabisToday was one of those days that I had to pinch myself because I felt so lucky. I got to attend a brunch fundraiser for legendary United States Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has fought for the cannabis reform movement for a very long time, and continues that support as more states allow a thriving cannabis industry to exist by leading the charge in Congress. The fundraiser was hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Speaking at the fundraiser was another individual that led the charge for many, many years in Congress. That individual was former Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA).

I have never heard Barney Frank give a speech before, and definitely haven’t heard him talk now that he is out of Congress. Mr. Frank was known for being outspoken in Congress, and now that he is retired I was expecting some particularly candid opinions to be shared. The speech was nothing short of epic. Barney Frank has a way of getting to the point extremely quickly, and in a way that leaves no doubt as to how strongly Mr. Frank feels about the subject.

He started off his speech talking about how he is more of a ‘counter puncher’ when it comes to debates, and that he always found it easy to debate the issue of marijuana prohibition because there was such overwhelming evidence that marijuana shouldn’t be prohibited. Mr. Frank said something to the effect of the very thought that a plant should be prohibited even though it doesn’t cause any harm to anyone else, and relatively no harm to the user, was ‘completely stupid.’ His delivery was so on point that everyone in attendance gave a standing ovation.

One thing that stuck with me about Barney Frank’s speech is the multiple times that he thanked everyone in the room for implementing marijuana responsibly. Mr. Frank talked quite a bit about how marijuana reform and same sex marriage efforts had a lot in common. He pointed out that the main arguments for keeping marijuana prohibited had something to do with the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ and a bunch of other potential threats that ‘could happen’ if marijuana were to be legalized. Barney pointed out that Oregon, along with Washington and Colorado, have proven all of those made up negative consequences wrong.

“You have proven opponents wrong by doing this all responsibly. All of the negative things that opponents said would happen haven’t happened, and that’s because of the good work that is being done in this industry, including by people that are in this room, and I thank you for that.” Barney Frank told the crowd.

Barney thanked the crowd, pointing out that now that there are multiple states operating regulated systems, that legalization will spread. A momentum is growing that is unstoppable. He was quick to point out that not every state will vote to legalize, and that the federal government would be removing federal prohibition soon, which doesn’t necessarily legalize it at the state level. Barney Frank said, ‘Unfortunately a state like Mississippi probably won’t legalize, even though they likely need it the most since they live in a state like Mississippi.’

I was lucky enough to sit just feet away from Mr. Blumenauer and Mr. Frank during the brunch. Hearing both of them speak was truly inspiring, as was being surrounded by members of Oregon’s emerging marijuana industry. I’m hopeful that those in attendance, as well as the rest of Oregon’s marijuana industry, will continue to impress people like Barney Frank by being responsible members of these truly historic times. The future of the marijuana industry depends on it!

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.
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  • https://sedo.com/search/details.php4?language=en&domain=356688.com 356688

    honey,how are you

  • AntiIgnorant

    Prohibition of cannabis is absolutely absurd, yes.

  • 1Bugler1

    The prohibition of cannabis has been a masterpiece in the art of brainwashing.

  • Dave Jensen

    That ‘barney’ is “honored” for ANYTHING in this community is a real F’n shame. Embarrassed anyone would consider this POS for anything.

    • Horshizzle

      What particular policy issues do you find egregious?

      • Horshizzle

        ^Not trying to bait the trolls here, just completely ignorant as to what beefs may exist between the pro-cannabis community and Mr. Frank.

        • Dave Jensen

          Nor am I, simply study the man’s career.
          He, to me, represents all things “slimey”, IF, “IF” he did anything for this cannabis community, it was as a result of some perk for himself or his friends.Not an honorable man in ANY sense of the word.

  • calvet11

    For myself, I have very little in common with a Democratic Socialist, like Mr. Frank. But I will side with anyone who can support the cannabis movement, both medical and adult use. Multiple ups to Democratic Representative Blumenauer for his good work for the cause. While I would never follow these two men into battle, on cannabis, we can see eye to eye