Posted 29 days ago
Oregon could become the first U.S. state to decriminalize possessing hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD in a ballot measure during Tuesday’s election.
If voters pass Measure 110, users found in low-level possession of the substances would have the option of paying $100 fines or attending new, free addiction recovery centers instead of being arrested and facing jail time, The Associated Press reported.
The recovery centers would be funded by tax revenue from retail marijuana sales in the state, which was the country’s first to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Yes on 110, the organization sponsoring the ballot measure, stresses that the act does not legalize any drugs.
“No change is made in the criminal code for delivery, manufacture, and other commercial drug offenses. These offenses will remain a crime,” according to the website. “No change is made for other crimes that may be associated with drug use, such as driving under the influence and theft.”
Approximately one in 10 Oregonians struggle with substance use disorder, according to Yes on 110.
“This measure expands access to treatment and removes unfairly harsh punishments for minor, nonviolent drug offenses, so people with addiction can more easily recover. People will no longer be arrested and put in jail simply for possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, they will receive a health assessment and be connected to the right treatment or recovery services, including housing assistance, to help them get their lives back on track.”
The ballot measure is backed by the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon chapter of the American College of Physicians and the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians.
“Punishing people for drug use and addiction is costly and hasn’t worked. More drug treatment, not punishment, is a better approach,” the groups said in a statement obtained by the outlet.
The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that convictions... (Read more)
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