Drugs

Coke, Molly, Heroin and More Are Now Just Misdemeanors In Oregon

Oregon, one of five states where weed is currently legal for recreational use,  just took their f-you to Jeff Sessions America’s senseless War on Drugs one step further. The Beaver State has passed some of the most progressive drug laws in the country.

How dope is that? Because it’s no secret (thank you JAY-Z) that the War on Drugs is one of America’s biggest failures.

House Bill 2355, which passed in Oregon’s House by a vote of 33-26 and in the state Senate by a vote of 18-11, will make it a misdemeanor to get caught with six different drugs—cocaine, acid, peyote (hell yeah), meth, heroin and ecstasy—as long as the person has no prior felonies and no more than two previous drug convictions.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has already indicated that she will sign the bill. While the passage isn’t technically decriminalization, it’s a huge step away from locking up drug users and toward treating drug abuse as a health issue rather than a criminal matter.

The legislation, which aims to drastically reduce racial disparities in drug arrests and to rehabilitate those addicted to drugs, had a wide range of support from to law makers and community leaders, as well as Kevin Campbell, executive director of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

“Too often, individuals with addiction issues find their way to the doorstep of the criminal justice system when they are arrested for possession of a controlled substance,” Campbell wrote to lawmakers in support of the bill.

“We are tying to move policy towards treatment rather than prison beds,” State Senator Jackie Winters, told the Washington Post. “We can’t continue on the path of building more prisons when often the underlying root cause of the crime is substance use.”

“We’ve got to treat people, not put them in prison,” Rep. Mitch Greenlick told reporters. “It would be like putting them in the state penitentiary for having diabetes… This is a chronic brain disorder and it needs to be treated this way.”

Oregon currently has one of the biggest drug addiction problems in America and when this bill goes into effect, those arrested for drugs will be required to attend mandatory treatment for their drug addiction, rather than getting locked up.

And let’s be honest, the idea of only being charged with a misdemeanor for getting caught with some recreational coke or acid, or peyote even, is kind of nice.
if you’re caught with peyote in Oregon, you’ll only be charged with a misdemeanor!
Federal law will still reign supreme over local law, but this is the kind of progress America needs.
Jag Davies, director of communications strategy at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Refinery29“There’s a lot of stigma with criminalization of drug use.”
She went on, “Defelonizing possession could make it easier for people who would otherwise be too scared of punishment to get help seek needed medical attention, and could financially help the state build resources for addicts like harm reduction programs, syringe access programs, and access to health services.”

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