WASHINGTON — Representatives Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Republican Ron Paul of Texas, polar opposites on many issues, joined Wednesday in asking the White House to refrain from acting against marijuana users in Colorado and Washington, which became the first states last week to legalize recreational use of the drug.
In a letter to President Obama, the duo asked the White House to “respect the wishes of the voters of Colorado and Washington and refrain from federal prosecution of the inhabitants of those states who will be following their states’ laws with regard to the use of marijuana.’’
Paul, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president, is widely considered a leading libertarian in Congress, while Frank is an unabashed liberal. Citing “individual freedom,’’ both are coauthors of legislation that would legalize marijuana across the nation.
“We believe there are many strong reasons for your administration to allow the states of Colorado and Washington to set the policies they believe appropriate in this regard, without the federal government overriding the choices made by the voters of these states,’’ the letter said, noting a state’s right to set policies that affect their own residents and the potential cost for enforcing federal laws prohibiting the recreational use of marijuana, which is against federal law.
Other states permit medicinal use of Marijuana. Last week, Massachusetts became the latest state to do so.
But Colorado and Washington broke new ground in the movement to decriminalize use of the drug, when voters in those two states legalized the possession and growing of the substance.