Longtime Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank announced on Real Time this weekend that he plans to "file a bill as soon as we go back to remove all penalties for small amounts of marijuana." Frank said,
"I wanted to do it for a long time. I filed it in the state legislature in the '70s. When I got to Congress, frankly, I was feeling more cautious. I now think it's time for the politicians to catch up to the public. The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly. I'm going to call it the Make Room for Serious Criminals bill."
After wind of the announcement reached those not up watching HBO late at night, Rep. Frank had to clarify. He said the current federal law unfairly targets those using medical marijuana in California and that the decision of whether to make possession of the drug illegal should be left up to the states. "I don’t think smoking marijuana should be a federal case. There’s no federal law against mugging," he said.
Supporters say the measure would save states millions of dollars in law enforcement costs while critics say decriminalizing any amount of marijuana could send a signal to children that smoking pot is no big deal.
Are you surprised to hear legislation proposed on premium cable? Is Frank right?