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Oregon Becomes First State to Decriminalize All Drugs, Allow for Psilocybin Therapy

According to the Oregon secretary of state's office, as of 9:00pm Pacific Time, both of the state's pioneering drug reform initiatives are cruising to victory. The drug decriminalizing Measure 110 was winning with 59% of the vote, and the therapeutic psilocbyin initiative, Measure 109, was winning with 56% of the vote.

Oregon's Mt. Hood (David Mark/Pixabay)
Measure 110 would decriminalize the possession of personal use amounts of all drugs and use revenues from legal marijuana sales to help fund expanded drug treatment. People caught with drugs could either pay a $100 fine or complete a health assessment. Distribution of such drugs would remain criminalized.

Measure 109, the Psilocybin Services Act, would create a program to allow the administration of psilocybin products, such as magic mushrooms, to adults 21 and over for therapeutic purposes. People would be allowed to buy, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin services center, but only after undergoing a preparation session and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator.

Measure 110 was spearheaded by Drug Policy Action, the advocacy and political arm of Drug Policy Alliance, which also backed prior drug policy wins in Oregon, including the YES on 91 campaign in 2014 that legalized marijuana.

"Today's victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use,"said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Measure 110 is arguably the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date. It shifts the focus where it belongs -- on people and public health -- and removes one of the most common justifications for law enforcement to harass, arrest, prosecute, incarcerate, and deport people. As we saw with the domino effect of marijuana legalization, we expect this victory to inspire other states to enact their own drug decriminalization policies that prioritize health over punishment."

In addition to decriminalizing possession of all drugs for personal use, Measure 110 will greatly expand access to evidence-informed drug treatment, peer support, housing, and harm reduction services, without raising taxes. Services will be funded through excess marijuana tax revenue (over $45 million) and savings from no longer arresting, incarcerating, and prosecuting people for drug possession. Based on current projections, the excess marijuana tax revenue alone should result in over $100 million in funding for services in the first year and up to $129 million by 2027.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Just decriminalizing leaves the black market's power untouched

with all the problems that causes in this country and others, and leaves in place the vast number of crimes addicts commit to get the money to pay the black market's prices. Why not take the next step and have the state distribute those decriminalized drugs, giving the job to public health workers who have a comprehensive plan for harm reduction. Addicts can be charged for their drugs on an ability to pay basis. 

Oregon vs. Zurich

Fortunately Oregon is a much larger land area than the small zone Zurich instituted years ago in which drug possession laws were unenforced.  The problem there and even in larger municipal jurisdictions is that doing that in effect invites all the junkies in from the countryside while giving them no legal suppliers.  Oregon's big enough that junkies are not going to relocate to the state from afar.

However, that's no excuse for saynotohypocrisy's idea: vending drugs to "addicts" on an ability-to-pay basis.  That's how organized crime operates!  What would you do to qualify someone as an "addict", and why would you want to encourage people to assume that role?

It was discovered decades ago that the proportion of property crimes (let alone crimes generally) that were committed by "addicts" to pay for black market drugs had been greatly overestimated.  The drug habit was not driving the crime; rather, criminal lifestyles were driving habitual narcotics use.

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