PORTLAND, Ore (KOIN) — Fifty years after the War On Drugs began in the 1970s, Oregon voters decided on an alternative path: decriminalization for user-amounts of illicit substances and accompanying recovery treatment options instead of jail time.
Oregonians have approved Measure 110, which decriminalizes possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, LSD, oxycodone and some other drugs, according to the Associated Press.
The approved measure makes Oregon the first state in the nation to decriminalize hard drugs, along with the legalization of therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms.
The initiative will reclassify personal drug possession to a Class E violation with a maximum $100 fine. It does not affect people selling or manufacturing illegal drugs. People caught with user-amounts of drugs could get the fine waived by completing a health assessment, during which they could be connected with treatment, recovery and housing services.
Janie Gullickson, one of the chief petitioners, spent 22 years addicted to methamphetamine, beginning early in her teenage years. Despite coming from a relatively privileged background, her drug-use spiraled out of control.
“Measure 110 is an idea that on the surface might sound appealing or compelling, but when you look into it, it’s a very dangerous measure,” Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton told KOIN 6 News.
While Barton agrees the current system is far from perfect, he says making treatment voluntary is not the way to go.
This is one of 4 statewide ballot measures Oregon voters approved on Election Day: limiting campaign contributions, increasing cigarette and vaping taxes and legalizing medicinal psilocybin.