"I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case," Merkley said. "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."
While politicians nationwide have been reluctant to stake out a position on the issue, Merkley is unlikely to be the last to so explicitly announce his support for legalization as attitudes toward the drug continue to shift. As an increasingly clear majority of Americans support the idea of legalizing the drug, more are expected to follow.
Merkley hopes his crime-fighting proposals will respond to voter concerns about high levels of methamphetamine use and cuts to law enforcement in many Oregon communities.
Merkley wants the federal government to pay the costs of adding another 50,000 local police officers around the country, as well as additional prosecutors and resources for crime labs. He would also toughen laws against meth traffickers, toughen reporting requirements for sex offenders and expand federal laws against child pornography.
|2016 Presidential contenders on Drugs:|
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