A measure that would decriminalize personal use of drugs including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine will be on the ballot in Oregon on November 3, The New York Times reports.
Oregon’s Measure 110 would eliminate criminal penalties for personal, noncommercial possession of a controlled substance. People caught with small amounts of drugs would have the option to pay a fine of no more than $100, or receive a “completed health assessment” through an addiction recovery center.
The measure’s supporters say a new way of thinking about drug laws is needed in light of COVID-19 outbreaks in jails and a growing awareness of how many people of color have been imprisoned for drug offenses.
Opponents of the measure say it would normalize drugs that can lead to deadly addiction, the article notes. “The sad reality is that many, many people will never seek treatment without the motivation of criminal charges,” said Paige Clarkson, president of the Oregon District Attorneys Association.