Here’s the First U.S. Senator to Publicly Declare His Support for Marijuana Legalization

With state-by-state marijuana legalization taking hold slowly but surely nationwide, this was bound to happen eventually.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) told Talking Points Memo on Wednesday that he plans to vote in favor of a referendum on Election Day that would legalize marijuana in Oregon. Similar to the measures in place in Colorado and Washington, the Oregon proposal would green-light marijuana use for recreational purposes and would allow the state to tax and regulate it.

“I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case,” Merkley said told TPM. “And there is concern about a series of new products — and we don’t have a real track record from Colorado and Washington. But 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.”

This makes Merkley the first U.S. Senator to support legalizing marijuana.

[Image via Sen. Jeff Merkley/Twitter]

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[Note: Mediaite intern Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.]

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