Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Oregon legislature looks to decriminalize hard drugs, Governor expected to sign

On July 6th, the Oregon legislature voted to decriminalize cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone, LSD, and ecstasy, reported The Hill. While reform of prohibitions on both medical and recreational use of marijuana has gained popularity in states across the country, most people remain skeptical of the benefits of reducing or eliminating criminal penalties for harder drugs. Yet, rolling back prohibitions on harder drugs is likely to bring greater benefits than those produced by the relaxation of marijuana prohibitions precisely because the harder drugs are more dangerous.
Oregon House Bill 2355, which would become state law if Governor Kate Brown signs it as expected, decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of the drugs for people who do not have more than two prior drug convictions or any felony convictions. If it becomes law, Oregon will become the first state to decriminalize these hard drugs.
In 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and, in 2015, it became the 4th state to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Today, eight states and the District of Colombia have legalized recreational use and most states have passed some version of decriminalization or removed prohibitions on the use of medical marijuana.
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