Published in OCNorml
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. told the state’s first Maine Medical
Marijuana Expo on Saturday that current laws against marijuana use are
expensive, are applied unevenly and ought to be repealed.
“People who make a personal decision to smoke marijuana should not be
subject to prosecution,” said Frank, noting that the movement has
allies in the libertarian wing of the Republican Party. “This is the
kind of fight that’s worth making. It’s winnable.”
The message was well received by an enthusiastic audience of about 100
people, including many vendors set up for the day-long exposition at
the Fireside Inn& Suites on Riverside Street.
The event included vendors exhibiting the latest in equipment for
growing marijuana. Earlier in the day, prominent doctors in the field
discussed the therapeutic use of marijuana for a range of debilitating
State representatives, retired law enforcement and civil libertarians
also addressed the group.
Maine approved the use of medical marijuana in 1999, and in 2009
voters approved legalizing dispensaries as one system for giving
patients access to the drug.
Frank, a powerful congressional figure on banking and finance issues,
said he had been in Ogunquit earlier in the day to celebrate the
repeal of the federal ban on gays and lesbians in the military.
The same evolution of attitudes that helped get that repealed should
help end the prohibition on marijuana, he said.
“The younger people are, the more sensible people are on this issue,”
Frank said. “I believe within 10 years we’re going to be able to
substantially diminish the criminality of marijuana.”
Police, he said, have much more trouble with a loud group of young men
drinking beer than a similarly loud group that has been smoking marijuana.
“Instead of bringing Mace, you might bring potato chips,” he said, to
The event was put on by the Maine Medical Marijuana Resource Center
and its director, Charles Wynott, a longtime advocate of medical
Wynott has been HIV positive for 23 years and has used marijuana to
ease nausea, to help keep his medicine down and to help him eat to
keep up his strength.
His group, which serves as an information resource, helps poor
patients with terminal illness pay for the state license and get
access to treatment, he said.