Ron Paul, Barney Frank Introduce Bill To Repeal Federal Laws Against Marijuana

It has absolutely no change of becoming law, but it is an interesting idea:

A group of House members led by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) plans to introduce legislation Thursday that would legalize the use of marijuana and allow states to develop their own rules on the drug’s use within their borders.

Modeled on the 21st Amendment to the Constitution that repealed the prohibition of alcoholic beverages, the legislation is being cast by the Marijuana Policy Project as the “the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.”

The bill would let states legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. It would also “reprioritize federal resources” away from the enforcement of anti-marijuana laws, limiting the federal government’s role in combating cross-border and interstate smuggling, as well as in fighting the growth, use and sale of the drug.

One thing I’ve always found puzzling about Federal drug laws is the fact that everyone agreed that Federal legislation against alcohol requried a Constitutional amendment and yet the Federal governments role in drug prohibition has never really been seriously contested. Why shouldn’t this be a state issue?


FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Eric J. says:

    If Obama comes out strongly and credibly in favor of legalization, he probably won’t peel away a lot of Republicans, but he may turn a few million non-voters into voters, the way he did in 2008. He’ll probably also pick up about half of the votes that the Libertarian Party candidate would have received.

    On the other hand, I can’t think of a single worse omen for an issue than for Obama to come out strongly in favor of it during a campaign. It just means that its place under the bus is already reserved.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    We saw what happened to the stoner vote during Prop 19, our legalization effort here in CA: no shows.

  3. matt says:

    I cannot speak for the “stoner vote” but quite a few of them like the status quo and saw the legalization as painting a target on their backs because it would force the federal government to crack down hard. There were also quite a few dispensaries that were lobbying hard against the legalization effort. I heard a variety of reasons from my friends in California but those were the most prominent.

  4. matt says:

    There was also something about the wording that had some “stoners” worried about the law.

  5. michael reynolds says:


    I know that’s been the excuse, I just think the reality is that the youth vote did what the youth vote usually does on election day: go surfing.

  6. matt says:

    Oh certainly that was the case with some of them. I obviously cannot speak for all of them just what my friends and their friends said. Most of them do usually vote though 😛