Oregon gives up on failed drug decriminalization

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Oregon lawmakers have moved to reintroduce criminal penalties for the possession of hard drugs, in effect ending the state’s groundbreaking three-year decriminalization experiment.

In 2020, nearly 60% of voters moved to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs with the passage of Measure 110, but the new law had grown increasingly controversial as the state grappled with the fentanyl crisis and growing public drug use.

Lawmakers had recently reached a bipartisan deal to undo a key aspect of the law and make minor possession a misdemeanor, while also allocating millions of dollars toward specialty court programs as well as mental health and addiction treatment.

The Oregon house approved the $211m bill earlier this week, followed by the state senate, which voted to approve the measure on Friday. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Tina Kotek, who said in January that she is open to signing a bill that would roll back decriminalization, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!