Oregon Voters Decriminalize Possession of Hard Drugs, Including Heroin, Cocaine, and Meth

Downtown Portland, Oregon (tfoxfoto/Getty Images)

Oregon voters have approved a measure to decriminalize possession of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines, for personal use.

According to Measure 110, residents caught with small amounts of hard drugs will be required to choose between a $100 fine or a treatment program, but will be spared a jail sentence.

Offenders who choose treatment for drug addiction will be able to access new recovery centers for free. The recovery centers will be funded by taxpayer dollars made through the sale of marijuana. Oregon was the first state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana use.

The measure was backed by several Oregon officials, including Multnomah County district attorney Mike Schmidt, whose purview includes the city of Portland.

“Misguided drug laws have created deep disparities in the justice system,” Schmidt told the Associated Press last week. “Arresting people with addictions is a cruel punishment because it slaps them with a lifelong criminal record that can ruin lives.”

About two dozen other district attorneys from the state opposed the measure, saying it “recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most dangerous types of drugs [and] will lead to an increase in acceptability of dangerous drugs.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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