After nearly 59% of Oregonians voted in favor of “Measure 110″ in November, Oregon has officially decriminalized the possession of small amounts of street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, LSD, and methamphetamine.
As of February 1, possession of a controlled substance has been reclassified from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E violation, making the new punishment for the possession of any illegal drug to become the legal equivalent to that of a traffic ticket.
The state will no longer be jailing people for petty possession of a substance; instead, violators will be given the option of paying a $100 fine or participating in a health assessment program, which will be conducted through various addiction recovery centers.
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The push behind the decriminalization of drugs in Oregon came from the success of similar programs that have taken place in other countries, namely Portugal and Switzerland, where disciplinary drug laws have been reduced in favor of a public health-oriented approach.
Anyone in Oregon who manufactures or distributes, or is caught with dealer-sized quantities of any form of illegal substances, will be subject to a criminal penalty and will be arrested and face criminal prosecution under the existing state laws.
With files from Téana Graziani