Oregon To Be The First In US To Decriminalize The Possession Of Drugs

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : February 4, 2021

A recent order taking place from Monday has decriminalized the possession of a small number of drugs in Oregon. Police no longer can arrest a person in possession of drugs. With this, Oregon has become the first state in the U.S to decriminalize the act of possessing drugs.

But the decriminalizing act doesn’t mean that a person can roam around freely with drugs in his bag. Instead, the person possessing any kind of restrictive drugs like heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, oxycodone or any other, would have to pay a fine of $100. 

Oregon To Be The First In US To Decriminalize The Possession Of Drugs

Possession of drugs can even result in a health assessment leading to an addiction counselling. The backers of the ballot measures exclaimed the move as revolutionary for the United States. The ballet was passed by the Oregon voters by a wide margin.

Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance had spearheaded the ballot initiative. She said that the war against drugs should include prioritizing health over criminalization. With the decriminalization of the possession of drugs, a cruel and inhumane practice against the use of drugs is eliminated. 

Oregon To Be The First In US To Decriminalize The Possession Of Drugs

Ballot measure’s 110 backers said that treatment is a better option to avoid drug abuse than punishment. Criminalizing the act is not impactful but also do more harm to a person. The person charged for the possession of drugs, not only spend a precious time of his life in prison, but, with the criminal tag it is almost impossible to find a home or good job. Such incidents haunt the person throughout.

About two dozen of the district attorneys had opposed the measure saying that the move is going to result in an increase in the acceptability of dangerous drugs. They said that decriminalizing drug possession is a reckless move. 

Matt Sutton, spokesman for the Drug Policy Alliance, said that the person found guilty of possessing small amount of drug, intended for personal-use, will face a civil citation and not a criminal charge. He said that the civil citation is like a traffic-ticket. One is going to receive it, have to pay fine, or appear before a counsellor, or maybe both. But surely, one is not going to receive a tag of a criminal.

With the new provisions into place, the addiction recovery centers are asked to triage the acute need of peop;e that are found to possess and abuse drugs by addressing any on-going needs, thorough intensive care management, and linkage to care and services.

The addiction recovery centers will be funded. The funding amount will be received from Oregon’s legalized Marijuana Industry. This will result in the diversion of some of the funding amounts from other programs, like schools.

The combined funding to schools, mental health, alcoholism and drug services, cities and countys, the state police is capped to $ 45 million annually. The rest of the revenue generated will be used to fund the “Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund”.

In the last fiscal year, tax revenues from the marijuana industry have reached up to $133 million. This amounts to a 30% increase from 2019 and a 545% increase from 2016.

A leading lawmaker however agrees to the other recipients of the pot tax beneficiaries that the distribution of the revenues needs another look, especially after assessing the proper set-up of the treatment options. With legalizing the Marijuana industry, the revenue generated has increased and indeed the distribution requires a lot of deliberations.

Oregon Education Association President John Larson wrote in an email that the Oregon’s treatment programs will be receiving full funding in near future. He also asked that the state should look for other services as well that could benefit from the growing Marijuana Industry revenue. A balanced approach towards budget will benefit communities and students.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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