Congressman Don Young, marijuana champion, dies at 88

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The marijuana industry lost a staunch ally Friday when U.S. Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, died at age 88.

Young, from Alaska, teamed with fellow Republican Rep. David Joyce, from Ohio, to introduce a federal marijuana legalization bill, the Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act, in May 2021.

In 2016, Young partnered with Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon to form the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

That organization over the weekend issued a statement honoring Young’s long service record.

“Don was a fierce advocate for ending the failed federal prohibition of cannabis. He was dedicated to ensuring Alaskans and all Americans had the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future,” the co-chairs of the caucus, Reps. Blumenauer, Joyce and Barbara Lee, said in a news release.

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The caucus said Young left behind a “legacy of bipartisanship” and called him a “legendary leader.”

Young was reelected to his 25th term in 2020. He was first elected in 1973.