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: 155597

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31877528
Washington21211212
Marion18468285
Clackamas13380175
Lane10258126
Jackson8395112
Umatilla765982
Deschutes595259
Yamhill378364
Linn359056
Malheur335158
Polk306442
Klamath279155
Douglas247454
Benton234416
Josephine234050
Jefferson195828
Coos149119
Union128419
Columbia126521
Wasco122126
Lincoln113220
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 49°
Brookings
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 41°
Medford
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 49°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 25°
Very mild start to March
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events