New Oregon Ballot Proposal Seeks to Reverse Drug Decriminalization Law

Oregon Drug Decriminalization: A Closer Look

When it comes to cannabis news and the ever-evolving landscape of drug policy in the United , the state of Oregon has been making headlines lately. You might have heard about the latest buzz in the Beaver State, where a proposed ballot initiative is causing quite a stir. It’s time to grab your favorite strain, kick back, and let’s dive into the controversy surrounding the Oregon Drug Decriminalization proposal.

The Backstory

Oregon Drug Decriminalization took stage in 2020 when Oregonians cast their ballots on Measure 110, a groundbreaking initiative that decriminalized the simple possession of all drugs. Fast forward to 2023, and a group known as the “Coalition to Fix and Improve Ballot Measure 110” has emerged, aiming to roll back the clock and make drug possession a crime once again.

Now, you might be thinking, “Wait, what’s going on here?” You’re not alone; this proposed reversal of drug decriminalization has raised eyebrows across the state.

The Proposal

The Coalition’s proposal comes in two flavors. The first version seeks to make it a misdemeanor to possess certain “hard” drugs like fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, , and others. It also introduces a new misdemeanor offense for using unlawful drugs in public.

The second, bolder version takes things a step further. It not only increases penalties for drug manufacture or delivery but also makes possession of tableting or encapsulating machines a felony. Additionally, it broadens the definition of drug “delivery” to include possession with the intent to transfer.

Who’s Behind It?

The “Coalition to Fix and Improve Ballot Measure 110” is a diverse group, with political and business figures from both sides of the aisle. This includes former Republican lawmaker Max Williams, political consultant Dan Lavey, progressive strategist Paige Richardson, and Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton.

Financial backing for these proposals comes from some of Oregon’s wealthiest residents, including Tim Boyle, the President, and CEO of Columbia Sportswear, Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, real-estate mogul Jordan Schnitzer, former Columbia Distributing Company chair Ed Maletis, and the Goodman family, prominent property owners in Downtown Portland.

The Controversy

So, what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, Measure 110 was passed in 2020 with over 58 percent of the vote, reflecting a sentiment among voters that the war on drugs had failed. However, a recent poll conducted by opponents of the measure found that 61 percent of respondents now view it as a .

Supporters of drug decriminalization are up in arms, warning that these new initiatives could mark a return to the dark days of the drug war. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) has called them a “false promise of change,” arguing that more people could die of drug overdoses if these measures become law.

The Human Impact

Research shows that drug consumers are 27 times more likely to die of an overdose after leaving jail or prison. This measure could also lead to increased jail crowding, strain the courts, divert funds away from treatment programs, and exacerbate racial disparities in policing.

Black people in Portland are policed at a rate 4.3 times higher than white people, according to the DPA. Furthermore, overdose deaths may spike after police drug busts, as seen in one Indianapolis neighborhood.

A Different Perspective

Not everyone is on board with the Coalition’s proposals. The Health Justice Alliance (HJRA) acknowledges the frustration with the state’s housing crisis and drug-related issues. Still, they emphasize that recriminalization isn’t the solution.

HJRA believes that these new initiatives would “fail to reduce addiction, fail to reduce homelessness, [and] fail to make our streets safer.” According to Shannon Jones, CEO of the Oregon Change Clinic, more outreach and increased funding are needed for effective change.

Moving Forward

The over drug policy in Oregon continues to evolve. Legislators have already made adjustments to the decriminalization law, providing more oversight and coordination. However, it’s still too early to determine the full impact of Measure 110 programs on the state’s drug problems.

The road ahead remains uncertain, with Republican attempting to undo Measure 110 during recent legislative sessions. With so much at stake, the future of drug policy in Oregon hangs in the balance.

In conclusion, the Oregon Drug Decriminalization proposal has ignited a contentious debate in the state. As the discussion unfolds, it’s essential to consider the potential consequences and weigh the interests of , justice, and well-being. Only time will tell how this chapter in Oregon’s drug policy saga will end.

Author’s Note: Thanks to Ben Adlin for reporting on this important development. Stay tuned for more updates on cannabis news and drug policy in Oregon and beyond.

Rosemary Puffman
I'm Rosemary, a staunch supporter of cannabis legalization and its potential benefits. My roles as a writer, cannabis entrepreneur, and informed investor allow me to contribute to the evolving narrative around cannabis. Through my writing, I aim to destigmatize and educate, while my business ventures and strategic investments align with my belief in the positive impact of responsible cannabis use.

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