Oregon Becomes the First State to Decriminalize Use of All Drugs

By Jacob Sullum, Reason

Oregon voters today approved a ballot initiative that decriminalizes noncommercial possession of all drugs, something no jurisdiction in the United States has ever done. With 70 percent of precincts reporting, 59 percent of voters favored Measure 110.

The initiative’s supporters included the Oregon Democratic Party, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the NAACP of Portland, state medical groups, and musician John Legend. Opponents included former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), state legislators, two dozen district attorneys, and the Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, which argued that it did not provide enough resources for addiction treatment.

While marijuana is already legal in Oregon, Measure 110 eliminates criminal penalties for low-level possession of drugs that Oregon continues to ban, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin. The initiative, dubbed the Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, reclassifies personal possession of controlled substances, currently a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $6,250, as a Class E violation punishable by a $100 fine. The initiative’s supporters estimate that it will reduce drug possession arrests by more than 90 percent.


Categories: Law/Justice

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