Good News: In a victory against the despicable and misguided “war on drugs,” Oregon state has decriminalized all drugs, offering addicts treatment instead of prison.
Big changes in Oregon’s drug laws take effect today.
After decades of waging a war on drugs, voters decided in November to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of everything from methamphetamines to heroin.
The Hill reports:
Oregon’s historic measure decriminalizing all drugs goes into effect today, a major victory for advocates in the war against the war on drugs.
Measure 110, also known as the Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative, was approved by voters last year, reclassifying the possession of small amounts of drugs as a civil violation, subject to either a $100 fine or a completed health assessment by a designated center. The initiative uses taxes from the sale of marijuana, which was legalized in 2014, to partially finance addiction recovery centers and services.
Rolling Stone reports:
Oregon’s state law decriminalizing all drugs officially goes into effect today, February 1st.
The first-of-its-kind initiative, Measure 110, passed overwhelmingly last November, with 58.5 percent voting in favor. As the Salem, Oregon Statesman Journal notes, the law reclassifies possession of small amounts of drugs (e.g. less than one gram of heroin, 40 units of LSD, or 12 grams of psilocybin) as a civil violation that comes with a $100 fine, though that fine can be avoided if the person agrees to seek treatment. For possession of slightly larger amounts of some drugs (such as one to three grams of heroin, or two to eight grams of cocaine), the penalty has been reduced from a felony to misdemeanor possession.
Commenting on the good news, Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said:
Today, the first domino of our cruel and inhumane war on drugs has fallen—setting off what we expect to be a cascade of other efforts centering health over criminalization. For the first time in at least half a century, one place in the United States — Oregon — will show us that we can give people help without punishing them. This law is meant to protect people against persecution, harassment and criminalization at the hands of the state for using drugs and instead given access to the supports they need.
Bottom line: In a victory against the war on drugs, Oregon state has decriminalized all drugs, offering addicts treatment instead of prison.