In the year since Oregon decriminalized possession of all state-banned drugs, hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been redirected to funding community treatment and harm reduction services. Measure 110 ended arrests and jail time for possession of small amounts, replacing those penalties with a civil fine. The fine is waived if the person attends a substance use disorder assessment. “A year ago, Oregonians voted yes on Measure 110 to remove criminal penalties for possession of drugs and expand access to health services,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), in a press release to mark the November 3 anniversary. “Now, because of this measure, there are thousands of people in Oregon that will never have to experience the devastating life-long barriers of having a drug arrest on their record, which disproportionately and unjustly affected Black and Indigenous people due to targeted policing. Because of this measure, there is more than $300 million in funding that did not exist before being funneled into community organizations to provide adequate and culturally competent care that people desperately need.” Estimates from earlier in 2020 predicted the measure would prevent 9,000 arrests annually and result in a 95 percent reduction in racial disparities in drug arrests. But the history and presence of targeted drug enforcement in the US make continuing scrutiny vital. So far, we don’t have the complete picture.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 11/09/2021 16:05:00