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U.S. Rep. Barney Frank says marijuana should be legal at Boston Freedom Rally

Speaking before a crowd on the Boston Common at the 23rd Boston Freedom Rally, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said using marijuana is an individual choice that should not be criminalized.

Barney Frank urges the crowd at the Boston Freedom Rally to vote in the upcoming elections Saturday afternoon. PHOTO BY ABIGAIL LIN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Frank headlined the list of speakers at the rally, also known as “Hempfest.”

Frank said he has “been fighting for some time for a measure that will reduce crime very substantially” that will not just cost money, but “make money for the government.”

“We can reduce the crime rate by stop treating people as criminals because they have made the decision to smoke marijuana personally,” Frank said.

In an interview with The Daily Free Press, Frank expressed his support for legalizing marijuana.

“I don’t think anybody should be treated as a criminal for it [smoking marijuana],” Frank said.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, or MassCann, ran the rally, partnering with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

Frank told The Free Press that people should register to vote and get informed.

“Find out what the position is of people,” Frank said, “and if nobody that represents you is on the right side, call them up or email them and say, ‘I vote and hope you’ll change your mind, and if you don’t I won’t vote for you.’”

MassCann Treasurer Bill Downing said Frank was coming to help “whip up the supporters.”

“We are putting up a big push on voter registration this year,” he said, referring to Question 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot.

If Question 3 passes, people with certain medical conditions would be able to have up to a 60-day supply of medical marijuana at any given time. Patients with these medical conditions would require written certification from a physician to obtain the medical marijuana supply.

The law would also allow certain certified centers to grow marijuana for medical supply.

Downing said the biggest reason for legalizing marijuana is that “prohibition is just a complete failure.”

If the objective was to keep marijuana out of the hands of children, he said, that has not happened.

Downing said it is easier for kids to acquire marijuana than it is for them to acquire alcohol.

Standing before the crowd at the rally, several speakers spoke on the importance of voting “yes” on Question 3 this November.

“If people vote ‘yes,’ they will greatly reduce the amount of people getting arrested in this state,” said Lt. Jack Cole, a founding member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Cole also spoke about the increase in marijuana-related arrests in the U.S.

“In 1970, we were arresting back then about 65,000 people per year in this country for non-violent drug offenses,” he said. “By 2005, however, we were arresting 1.9 million people per year.”

Almost half of those arrests were marijuana violations, he said.

Cole said that by doing that, law enforcement “destroyed those folks’ lives.”

“You can get over an addiction, even, but you will never get over a conviction,” he said.

Frank, who is retiring from his post in the U.S. House of Representatives this year, told the crowd that people in politics like to talk about what they can do to reduce crime.

“Sometimes it costs money to reduce crime,” Frank said.

He said marijuana was less dangerous economically, socially and culturally compared to alcohol and tobacco.

“If this was a beer festival, instead of a marijuana festival, the cops would have been a lot busier,” he said, adding that the marijuana issue is one in which the public is ahead of the politicians.

Frank again urged the crowd to go out and vote.

“My bet is that most of you are not in the habit of voting regularly … If everybody here votes this November and gets friends to vote, we will get this changed very quickly,” Frank said.

Students and the NORML Women’s Alliance also took the stage in support of Question 3 and of the legalization of marijuana in general.

“We want to change the world of drugs for the better,” said John Decker of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Rally attendees wore T-shirts emblazoned with phrases such as “Grassachusetts Welcomes You” and “Keep Calm and Hit a Bong.”

Attendees could purchase various pieces of marijuana paraphernalia.

Jane-Ann Bilon of Washington, D.C. attended the rally, and said she was “a hippie from the old days.”

Bilon said marijuana should have been legalized 50 years ago.

“I actually have to use it for sleep,” she said. “It really is good for a lot of medicinal purposes. Also, it is not even nearly as harmful as alcohol.”


  1. Pingback: U.S. Rep. Barney Frank says marijuana should be legal at Boston Freedom Rally

  2. Talk to your children!

    Kids can ask some tough questions but those concerning prohibition are actually fairly easy to answer.
    Be straightforward: Explain concisely just how the unconscionable acts of parasitic prohibitionists at all levels of our bi-partisan police-state have raised gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootleggin­g; ­
    How these despicable monsters have creating a prison-for­-profit synergy with evil drug lords and terrorists;
    How they were able to remove many of our cherished and important civil liberties;
    How they’ve ensured that many previously unknown and contaminate­d drugs keep appearing on our streets, in our schools, and even in our prisons;
    How they’ve overcrowd­ing the courts and prisons, making it increasing­ly impossible to curtail the people who are really hurting and terrorizing­ others;
    And how they’ve helped to evolve local street gangs into transnatio­nal enterprise­s with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, and with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    After you’ve explained all that: Show them how prohibitionists have manipulated well-meaning but gullible parents for decades; read them the following quote from Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”

    “The State must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.” 

    Finally, our children need to know that It’s always possible to prevent a dire situation turning into an irreversible and very bleak one; kindly explain to them what our very wise forefathers did back in 1933!

    Educate, regulate, and tax!