By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams
In what justice advocates celebrated as a major shift away from the devastating and failed policies of the nation’s so-called “war on drugs,” Oregon on Monday officially became the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of all drugs with a new policy that also aims to boost access various related services.
Oregon voters passed Measure 110, also called the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, by a 17% margin in November. The ballot initiative was spearheaded by Drug Policy Action — the advocacy arm of Drug Policy Alliance — in partnership with Oregon groups and supported by over 100 local, state, and national organizations.
“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,” said Drug Policy Alliance executive director Kassandra Frederique in a statement Monday. “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.”