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Oregon Decriminalizes All Drugs

(Noted News) — Voters in Oregon have passed a ballot that decriminalizes methamphetamine, heroin, oxycodone, LSD, crack cocaine, and other hard drugs. 

The ballot, called Measure 110, presents a completely different legal process after someone is found with a personal amount of one of these drugs. Instead of setting a trial date and then potentially facing prison time, the person is given a choice between paying a $100 fine or attending a rehabilitation program funded by the tax revenue from Oregon’s legal marijuana industry. 

Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said “Today’s victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use… Measure 110 is arguably the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date.”

Backers of the ballot argue that the traditional model of enforcing drug laws only exacerbates the problems of drug users by burdening them with fines and criminal records that hinder their ability to find work opportunities.

According to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, roughly 3,700 fewer people will be convicted of drug-related felonies or misdemeanor thanks to Ballot 110. 

“This is such a big step in moving to a health-based approach instead of criminal punishment, and we’re devoting significant new resources to help Oregonians who need it,” said Janie Gullickson, the co-chief petitioner of Measure 110.

Opponents to the measure, which includes dozens of district attorneys, argue that the new rules will cause an increase in the use and acceptability of drugs. This argument conflicts with data from Portugal which recorded a drop in drug deaths, and no difference in drug use following their decriminalization of drugs in 2000. 

Included in the measure is the decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms, aka “magic mushrooms,” which have been increasingly used for the treatment of PTSD, depression, and a myriad of other psychological conditions. 

Proponents also believe that the new measures will prevent further disparities amongst racial and other demographics who are disproportionately affected by drug laws.

Kayse Jama said, “Measure 110 will help eliminate the disparities that communities…face in drug possession charges and convictions, and it will put the resources we currently waste on those arrests and prosecutions into funding for meaningful, accessible, culturally competent treatment options for individuals who are seeking addiction recovery and treatment.” 

According to the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon Chapter American College of Physicians, and the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians, 1 out of every 11 people in Oregon is addicted to drugs, and almost 2 people die every day from overdoses. 

Oregon was the first state in the US to decriminalize marijuana in 1973, and the new current measure, which comes into effect on February 1, 2021, will again make them a pioneer in progressive drug legislation. 

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