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Marijuana bill sparks debate among iReporters

  • Story Highlights
  • House Rep. Barney Frank introduced a bill legalizing marijuana possession
  • CNN.com asked iReporters to share their views on legalizing recreational pot use
  • The overwhelming majority of iReporters who responded favor legalization
  • iReport: What is your take on the pot debate? Be a part of the conversation
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(CNN) -- Rep. Barney Frank introduced a House bill Wednesday that would end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, or about a quarter-pound, of marijuana.

Rep. Barney Frank's intern, Avery Morrow, says Frank joked that his bill didn't have a "high chance" of passing.

Rep. Barney Frank's intern, Avery Morrow, says Frank joked that his bill didn't have a "high chance" of passing.

Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, the Democrat from Massachusetts said.

CNN.com asked iReporters to share their views on Frank's proposed bill, and to talk about marijuana laws in the U.S. Below is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

qotsa7777: I absolutely agree with the legalization of recreational marijuana use as a means to end the damaging and unproductive war on responsible, non violent users, but if we deny individuals the right to cultivate and sell marijuana for profit (with regulation similar that of alcohol), than we continue to perpetuate the most damaging aspect of marijuana prohibition: the funneling of money to gangs.

Not everyone will want, or be able to grow their own supply of marijuana, so they will still go to the same dealers that have been supplying them before the ban on possession was lifted.

Why not divert all of that money and tax revenue to businesses owned by citizens and regulated by the government? Think of it, the amount of jobs created by the rise of an entire new industry the size and scope of alcohol (a multibillion dollar a year business), would be an astounding boom to our floundering economy.

TJ1: I have been in hiding too long on this subject. I have a medical disorder that marijuana helps. And I stopped so I could try my doctors meds. I almost died from the legal meds the doctor gave me (and it just happened to be the same cocktail of drugs that a famous actor died from recently). I have been a good citizen, I don't drink or participate in any illegal activities, so why should I have to hide responsible use of this what I consider to be very helpful to me?

Aoman: These issues should be left up to the states to decide. Let the DEA worry about drugs that are actually harmful to society.

Jennb: Americans have displayed a serious lack of judgment recently. Do you think they can utilize this substance without affecting others? Do we want more people driving while intoxicated? Do we want our children to go to their friend's house, where their friends parents use only a little pot? Should we allow teens to use this substance without consequence? No, No, No, No, No!

Oilengineer: I am completely fine with the idea that individuals can make their own decisions on drugs. However, employers have EVERY right to know about use that may affect your job. You can't drink on the job, you can't smoke in the office, and you can't come to work high.

Employers at many locations require onsite drug testing and random checks which include alcohol. Smoke whatever you want, but if you fail a drug test at work, you're fired. If employers don't want to hire frequent smokers with marijuana in their system, that is entirely their choice. I think you will quickly find that while a few are interested, many individuals really like their salary a lot more than random drug screenings.

If you really want to talk about fair, this is the correct answer.

LindaLou65: I'm not sure how many are aware of the fact that marijuana is used to treat HIV and AIDS patients. I live in a state that illegalizes the use of marijuana for any reason. I lost my husband to AIDS several years ago and remember all the paperwork and hassle it was for him to get marinol (marijuana pill) to ease the nausea and increase his appetite. It took weeks for him to receive it. In the meantime, his physician actually told me to get marijuana from any source I could find and I did.

I do not know if the marijuana actually extended his life. I can say he lived a year longer than was expected. A small price to pay (legally) for more time with my husband and our son.

Bigsilk: The ways that marijuana and hemp can be used are almost too numerous to count and, surely research on this wonder plant isn't done. Every single bit of the plant can be used, from medicinal and recreational uses of the bud, textile and fuel uses from the stems and leaves, and marijuana seed oil is downright flammable (ever hear a seed pop?).

I will admit, however, 100 grams is a lot of weed. I would say that for most recreational smokers, that's at least three or more month's worth of pot. Maybe a hundred grams is a little high (pardon the pun). See an iReporter sing a song about pot laws

TAZER357: I cannot even grasp why the liberal left seem to want the country getting high. Oh wait, on second thought, it makes perfect sense. If the country is high, then they wont really know what the liberal left is really doing to the country. My personal opinion is that if people really want to get high, they will either take their chances with the law, or they can pay for a ticket to Amsterdam

GarthC420: It's interesting when I was a teen I smoked my share of pot and to this day if the opportunity were to make itself readily available I would smoke. I'm not the type that would devote time into finding a dealer or even driving more then 2 minutes to purchase pot. But a year or two ago I had a neighbor that would hook me up every once in a blue moon. Anyway the first time my neighbor sent me home with some weed I sat down with my husband and contemplated the most efficient way to smoke the bud as I had not owned a pipe, water pipe or papers in more then 10 years.

Finally after coming up with a method to consume the green, I offer a hit to my husband. At first he declined, which surprised me considering he is from the Netherlands where it's legal. So after a couple of tear-jerking cough-inducing puffs my husband decides to give it a try. We sit and smoke, and I come to find out that this is the first time my husband has smoked pot. Which really surprised me, but he explained that in the Netherlands marijuana is just another tobacco product, and it doesn't have this big forbidden taboo surrounding it like in the U.S. When the U.S. goes so far as to have news coverage of arrests of individuals for personal use pot gets better publicity then any trendy witty commercial drug dealers could air on TV.

Lascivius: There is no doubt in my mind that marijuana doesn't ruin lives (unless you count the legal problems that it causes in peoples' lives). It is also my opinion, being the child of an abusive alcoholic father, that marijuana use is far less harmful to lives than the use of alcohol can be.

In addition to these thoughts, I am fairly close to a Libertarian ... with regard to civil liberties, so it is my opinion that if someone wishes to do harm to themselves (although it is arguable that marijuana doesn't really harm people), that they should be allowed to, unless that harmful procedure harms others. That is where I draw the line. When your behavior harms others, that is a constitutional impingement and therefore should be illegal.

Denbee: I am a 58-year-old Vietnam veteran. American troops in Vietnam were generally split into two groups, the boozers and the tokers. In short, because of booze I have seen incredible stupidity in people all throughout my life, not only in Vietnam.

In two years of Vietnam I never once saw anyone who was high on pot turn to violence. Never once saw anyone high slurring their speech or being aggressive or vomiting all over themselves and others. The worst I can say about the tokers is that we broke into the mess hall one night and stole a 5 pound carton of strawberry ice cream (shared among 12 of us) and it was wonderful!

So given the violent history of alcohol and the aggressiveness and stupidity it causes I made a choice 40 years ago and it was one of the best choices I have made. I am a responsible husband and father; I am a cardiovascular technologist and have been employed with the same employer for 36 years. I have been married for 26 years. I am a runner and have run for over 20 years. Oh, I have smoked marijuana almost everyday for the last 40 years also. Should we make room in the jail for me?

Sensibleguy: Short and sweet, here's the case: Marijuana is not harmful. It is not physically addictive (like alcohol/cocaine can be), mentally destructive (acid, alcohol), does not carry serious side effects (prescription meds), and does not cause cancer (cigarettes). Hear iReporter discuss marijuana the 'wonder drug'

Marijuana does not make you crazy. It makes you lazy, at worst. I know many who can be industrious after smoking, if they make up their mind to be. And their cognitive abilities are well above their drunken peers.

Hordes of people have tried it, with no ill effect, and decided it is therapeutic for them: it helps relieve pains, increases hunger, relieves depression, or simply helps them laugh. And we all know how therapeutic a good laugh can be.

It's time for US to wise up and contact our representatives to support reasonable, productive, and moral policies ... starting to end the hypocrisy, status quo-ism and ignorance that runs rife in our government.

cweezy172: After growing up completely against any type of drug use, and with the perception that anyone who smokes pot is a "loser pothead," I finally decided to give it a try after reading a report on the pros and cons of pot legalization.

Since then (freshman year of college), it has been a daily staple in my life, I smoke pot every night before I go to sleep, it has reduced my general stress in life, and improved my quality of life. I recently (June) graduated with a 3.8 from a Master's program and got a pretty good job, which I am currently excelling in. When I have work, have to meet someone new, have a major responsibility etc. I don't get high before. I generally wait till my chores for the day are done before I light up (though cleaning high is fun).

I can't recount too many bad effects that it has had on my life, and the benefits far outweigh the few negatives. I find that those who smoke marijuana are generally more open-minded and kinder to others.

Congrats to Barney Frank for having the nerve to stick up for our rights!

Missbosshawg: I don't smoke pot, but have a lot of friends who do. Most who are 40 and 50 years old. I have never seen any of these people violent or commit crimes. They are hard working people who pay their taxes, own their own homes and volunteer in our community. That's more than I can say for some politican!

EyeiandiEye: Doctors use marijuana, as do many celebrities and professional athletes ... It is a great disparity in the American courts to allow this catastrophic aspect of the drug war to go any further. Tolerance of nonviolent citizens who serve and protect the moral integrity of our community must be respected. The schisms and rifts created by unjust policies tear apart the pathways to benevolent cooperation and incite many senseless arguments, ignorant debates, and feelings of frustration.

The hemp industry is a boon to economical equity and balance. It is not wise to take such a valuable resource for granted any longer. We have elected officials to exercise sensible honesty in regards the way our country determines it's collective standard of life. The arrogance of resentment and contextual deception of subversion must be eradicated from the forums our named leaders occupy. This is not a cause for protest or an impetus for any shameful idea to overthrow our established government. This is a cause for patience, honest participation in dialog, and obedience to the transcendent truth of our shared reality. We must not be consumed by paranoia, false information, conspiracy theory, or apathetic stagnation. There is a better way for us to work for to achieve and this is a potential step in the right direction.

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