On Monday, Oregon enacted an order decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs that voters passed in November. That makes Oregon the first state to enact such a measure.
State police can no longer arrest someone for possession of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other drugs because a new law now works to decriminalize such violations. Instead of being arrested, those found in possession of small amounts of drugs must pay a $100 fine and undergo an addiction evaluation. This would probably lead to compulsory drug treatment.
Supporters of the new measure, which Oregon voters passed by a wide margin in November, hailed it as a revolutionary step for the United States. “It started what we expect will be a cascade of other efforts centered on health over criminalization,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Supporters of the measure said treatment should be a priority and that criminalizing drug possession doesn’t work. In addition to the threat of going to jail, having a criminal record makes it difficult to find housing and work and can haunt a person for life. Two dozen district attorneys opposed the measure, saying it was reckless and would increase the acceptability of dangerous drugs.