Lost amid the overbearing weight of this ugly and bitter presidential election were a number of down-ballot measures and provisions in which Americans were given an opportunity to create some legal waves of their own.
Some of the most impactful of these measures included new laws regarding the way recreational drugs would be consumed here in the United States. Four states went ahead and jumped on the legal, recreational marijuana bandwagon including New Jersey – something that will likely prompt NY State to get on board in the next year or so.
All the way on the other side of the nation, Oregonians went even further, however.
Oregon made history Tuesday in the movement to reconsider the nation’s war on drugs by becoming the first state to decriminalize small amounts of heroin and other street drugs.
Voters overwhelmingly supported Measure 110, a coup for the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, the same criminal justice reform group that backed Oregon’s successful marijuana legalization effort in 2014.
Near-final returns as of 10:20 a.m. Wednesday showed the measure winning overwhelmingly, 59% to 41%. Its margin of victory exceeded 350,000 votes.
So, what exactly will the measure do?
The measure has three key components:
– It reduces misdemeanor drug possession to a non–criminal violation on par with a traffic offense. People with small amounts of drugs includingheroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, psilocybin, methadone and oxycodone will get a ticket and face a $100 fine or have the option of being screened for a substance abuse disorder.
– It reduces penalties for what are now felony drug possession cases, which involve larger quantities. Under Measure 110, most of those offenses will be misdemeanors.
– It funnels millions in marijuana tax revenue toward what it calls Addiction Recovery Centers, where people can be screened and directed to treatment options. Those tax dollars will also go to a Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund overseen by the state that could be used to pay for treatment, housing or other programs designed to address addiction.
The move comes just years after nearby Washington State, and specifically Seattle, began coddling drug users with “safe injection spots”, drawing criticism from hardline anti-drug politicians.