'Doobie' Brothers Ron and Barney by Jeannie DeAngelis 24 Jun 2011 post a comment Share This: Kellogg’s Corn Pops may be going out of business, but Captain Zig-Zag is about to get an up-tick in popularity if political odd couple Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barney Frank (D-MA) have their way. In a bipartisan effort to end the federal ban on marijuana, a newfangled congressional edition of the “doobie” brothers are banding together to put forward legislation that limits the federal government’s role in policing pot. Ron Paul and Barney Frank are proposing the first bill ever that, if enacted into law, would end centralized marijuana prohibition. The legislation seeks to limit federal involvement in cannabis monitoring to “cross-border or inter-state smuggling.” If the proposal succeeds, marijuana farmers across America stand to save on electricity and light bulbs as recreational horticulturists venture outside to legally grow weed and even sell the fruit of their harvest in states where pot is legal. Ron Paul, individual liberty and freedom Republican/Libertarian and one half of the bill’s sponsor, said the following: “Drugs are very dangerous but there are a lot of things that are very dangerous. The question is, should we regulate danger? Should we take responsibility for ourselves or should the government take care of us? I don't believe in the nanny state.” Paul consistently maintains that the government has no business butting into private lives, so it stands to reason that the same philosophy would apply to bong usage, whether it’s Ron Paul’s, if he has one, or someone else's. One would expect Congressman Paul to step forward on behalf of legalizing marijuana if the end result limits government and grants individual autonomy to be either as reckless or responsible as one desires. On the other hand, Barney Frank may have other, more personal reasons for proposing the legislation. Seems Congressman Frank found himself embroiled in marijuana-related controversy when visiting longtime partner and Fire Island ferry companion James Ready at his home in Maine a few years back. James Ready is also renowned for being spotted on video heckling and calling Sean Bielat, Barney’s 2010 opponent for his congressional seat, “dude.” James is an avid gardener, and when Barney had stopped by Ogunquit for a visit, Mr. Ready was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, which explains James’ public use of the word “dude.” Although Frank was on the premises during the arrest, the Massachusetts congressman claimed he knew nothing and told police he didn’t “live in the house and that he only smoked cigars.” Unlike James, who spends a lot of time kicking around out back in the pea patch, Congressman Frank said he was “surprised and disappointed with what police found,” and that he wouldn't “recognize a marijuana plant if he saw one because he is ‘not a great outdoorsman,’ and ‘wouldn't recognize most plants.’” Three years later, Barney’s original “surprise and disappointment” turned into activism because the cigar-smoking congressman, when referring to the Frank/Paul Pot Bill, said that “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." Never deviating from the libertarian platform whether it’s legalizing pot or maintaining a foreign policy position of non-intervention, Ron Paul is predictable and, although viewed as eccentric at times, remains pretty much controversy-free. Then there’s Barney Frank, who has a scandal-ridden past that includes a history with gay prostitutes and associations with pot-growing and weed-toking male friends, as well as making verbal reassurances that have been proved economically devastating such as: “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” Although Barney Frank claims to be “particularly irked by DEA raids and federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients and providers in California,” proposing legislation could be what remedies Barney’s history of public humiliation. All Barney needs to do is find a congressional colleague who’ll sign on to enact laws that take the sting out of embarrassing situations. For example, legalize growing and smoking pot, and in the future Frank can visit James Ready in Maine without the fear of being caught up in a drug raid. For years, Ron Paul has spoken out on behalf of legalizing prostitution; maybe the duo can get a Barney and Ron Bunny Ranch Bill going, which means that when Frank hires con men to run errands it won’t matter if personal aides work part-time from home. And with the pesky issue of discounted ferry tickets, maybe the congressman can push through a bill that exempts public employees from paying full price on ferry rides to islands that serve underrepresented minority groups. As for the Freddie and Fannie fiasco, it’s a little late for legislation to gloss over that debacle. However, for future reference maybe after Barney and Ron’s cannabis connection helps the two men cultivate a closer relationship, Barney will check with Ron before reassuring the public that government involvement in the housing market is a good thing, especially if you happen to be head of the House Committee on Financial Services at the time. Nevertheless, Ron Paul and Barney Frank are banding together as brothers to smooth relations between state law and a confused federal government that intermittently deploys DEA agents to raid dispensaries in jurisdictions that allow the sale of medical marijuana. As they do, it is nice to know that legalizing pot will also help bring Barney Frank, despite past indiscretions, one step closer to legitimacy.