Barney Frank Goes After George Will Over Marijuana Legalization


Martin H. Simon/ABC
ABC’s George Will and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), debate Rep. Barney Frank, (D-Mass.), and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the topic “There is Too Much Government in My Life.” “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour is in the middle.

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank got ABC’s This Week off to a great start in the first in a series of big debates that will continue throughout the coming year. Sunday’s topic was whether the government is too big or not, with two advocates on each side, and naturally the conversation made its way to drug legalization.

“In quite a surreal moment,” reports Josh Feldman at Mediaite, “Barney Frank asked George Will his position on marijuana and if it should be legalized.”

ABC/The Raw Story
Barney Frank, telling it like it is and taking no prisoners.

​Will admitted that he supported the internet gambling bill for which Frank has fought in Congress. But when it comes to marijuana, Will claimed, he would need to know more about its effects on the human body and how the government would regulate it. Will argued that his position was a “quest for information.”
Frank asked how long it would take — because marijuana has been around for a long time already.
“How long’s it going to last, George?” Frank asked. “We’ve been doing this for decades.”
Rep. Frank further responded to the widely discredited idea of marijuana being a so-called “gateway drug” by saying “anything can be a gateway to anything.”
Frank told Will and Ryan that Republican opposition to marijuana legalization was “a great embarrassment to the consevatives,” reports David Edwards at The Raw Story.
“I mean, personal liberty — if someone wants to smoke marijuana who’s an adult, why do you want to make them go to jail?” Frank rightly asked.
Host Chistiane Amanpour awkwardly tried to change the subject to social mobility, at which time Frank interjected that if Will and Paul Ryan, Will’s conservative ally on the show, were arguing that big government is wrong, they should be intellectually consistent by not taking the position that government should prohibit people from doing what they wish to their bodies, or telling people who they can marry or not.
“It’s a great embarrassment to the conservatives,” Frank pointed out. “They want to tell people who they can have sex with. Come on, all this is big government! Who can I have sex with? Who can I marry? What can I read? What can I smoke? You guys, on the whole — not all of you — but the conservatives are the ones who intrude on personal liberty there.”