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Merkley, Wyden, Join Fellow Senators In Push To End Federal Ban On Cannabis

Keeping It Tropical
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Flickr.com

A bill to end the federal prohibition of marijuana is gaining supporters in the U.S. Senate, including two lawmakers from Oregon.

KeepingItTropical_Flickr.jpg
Credit Keeping It Tropical / Flickr.com
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Flickr.com

Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are backing Senator Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act.  It aims to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, legalizing it at the federal level.

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Credit Congress.gov
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U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Merkley says currently, nearly 40 states have legalized medical or recreational cannabis. Conflicting with federal law has affected banking as well as driving up prosecution of non-violent crimes. Merkley says this is causing some racial disparity.

“Nationally, where use levels are very similar between different ethnic groups, African-Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, as compared to Caucasian-Americans. 

"And that leads to a much higher incarceration rate as well.”

Merkley says backers are working to get more support for the bill, in hopes of shuttling it through the Senate sometime next session.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Copyright 2018 KLCC

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. He is a 20-year reporter who has worked at NPR, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including three Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award in 2012.