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Oregon law decriminalizing small quantities of drugs goes into effect

Measure 110 passed during the November election, prioritizing drug treatment and recovery over prosecution of drug users.

Posted: Feb 1, 2021 11:11 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2021 11:28 AM

SALEM, Ore. — A new Oregon law decriminalizing small quantities of illegal narcotics went into effect on Monday. Voters passed Measure 110 in November, prioritizing options for drug treatment and recovery over prosecution of drug users.

Oregon is now the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize simple possession of virtually all drugs.

The Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act decriminalizes possession of some amounts of controlled substances by adults and juveniles including: heroin (1 gram or less), cocaine (2 grams or less), methamphetamine (2 grams or less), MDMA (less than 1 gram or 5 pills), LSD (less than 40 user units), psilocybin (less than 12 grams), methadone (less than 40 user units) and oxycodone (less than 40 pills, tablets, or capsules).

Instead, these crimes become a "Class E" violation, resulting in a maximum penalty of a $100 fine or completion of a health assessment with an addiction treatment professional.

The new law does not decriminalize drug trafficking, driving under the influence, or the kinds of property or violent crimes that can accompany drug addiction — these crimes will remain punishable with the same potential penalties as before.


RELATED: Mental health clinics await Measure 110


“Treating drug use like a crime has created suffering that spans generations. We have lost too many loved ones because they didn’t have access to the health services they desperately needed,” said Tera Hurst, Executive Director of the new Health Justice Recovery Alliance, a statewide advocacy coalition.

Alongside decriminalization, February 1 marks the beginning of a new 24/7 hotline that people caught in possession of small quantities of drugs can call as an alternative to receiving the fine. Callers will receive a social services needs assessment to connect them with specific recovery services based on their needs.

“Oregon’s new law is transformational. voters overwhelmingly agree that we must treat Substance Use Disorder as a public health crisis, not a crime. Today we take that first step,” Hurst said.

Supporters of the law say that it will help to dismantle racial disparities in drug arrests and convictions.

In the run-up to the November election, opponents of Measure 110 — including former Governor John Kitzhaber — criticized the initiative, in part because it could leave parents in the dark if minors are caught in possession  of drugs. Others worried that the measure did not invest enough in recovery or treatment programs.

The Oregon Health Authority confirmed on Monday that it has appointed 21 members to serve on a new Oversight and Accountability Council for Measure 110's implementation.

A new Treatment and Recovery Services fund, financed by state cannabis revenues, is also now in effect, for the purpose of building 15 new regional addiction recovery centers in the state. The 24/7 hotline serves as a temporary solution, connecting callers to existing programs, until the new centers are operational.

“We are proud of the fact that we met these requirements on time, and that the new law will help us establish a more health-based, equitable and effective approach to drug addiction in Oregon,” said OHA Behavioral Health Director Steve Allen.

NewsWatch 12 is digging further into this new law and the changes that begin locally on Monday.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4848946

Reported Deaths: 71328
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148303126527
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3666614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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