Oregon Senator Pretty Sure He Supports Legalization




One down, ninety-nine to go! Less than two weeks before Election Day, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D) became the first member of the United States Senate to publicly almost-endorse legal recreational cannabis, telling Talking Points Memo last Wednesday, “I lean in support of it.”


It being Measure 91, the initiative that would make Oregon the third state to fully legalize marijuana. No U.S. Senator to date has voted in favor of legalization, but that may change with Merkley, who has repeatedly cited the unnecessary strain cannabis prohibition has placed on local law enforcement as a reason to support reform, stating: “I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure.”


The Senator’s declaration preceded a similarly lukewarm statement of support from Washington’s “pot czar,” Mark Kleiman, who on Thursday authored a blog post entitled “Cannabis Legalization in Oregon: Why Measure 91 is close enough for government work” on Samefacts.com, an online “reality-based community.”


Merkley doesn’t actually say that he definitely will vote yes, and he does mention a few concerns, such as “a series of new products – and we don’t have a real track record from Colorado and Washington,” but he is clear that he is careening in the direction of yes. He seems pretty sure. We will know in just one week.


With only most of the Senate left to convince, WRK is currently taking office bets as to who will be the next to come out in favor of legalization. We’re looking in the direction of the Green Mountain State; Bernie Sanders, we all know which way you lean.

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