Do you believe that other states will soon follow Oregon’s lead? Outline the arguments that were made by both the proponents and opponents of Measure 110.

Oregon Voters Approve Ballot Measure That Decriminalizes Hard Drugs
On Election Day, Oregon made history by being the first state in the nation to decriminalize the possession of hard drugs. The ballot measure, Measure 110, decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, methamphetamine, and others. According to OPB (Links to an external site.), the measure, which was approved by 58.46% (Links to an external site.)of Oregonians, reclassifies the possession of small amounts of drugs as a civil violation. This reclassification is similar to a traffic violation and would result in a $100 fine or participation in a health assessment. In addition to the reclassification, the Drug Policy Alliance (Links to an external site.), a non-profit organization, reported that Measure 110 will use excess marijuana tax revenue (estimated to be over $45 million and projected to be up to $129 million by 2027) and savings from the reduction in arrests, incarcerations, and prosecutions to expand the access to drug treatment, peer support, housing, and harm reductions services.

Proponents (Links to an external site.) of the measure highlighted the prevalence of drug use and drug-related deaths in the state and argued that the new approach would save lives, save families, reduce convictions and arrests, and lead to a 95% (Links to an external site.) reduction in racial disparities in drug arrests. Opponents, on the other hand, argued that the measure was “reckless” and that its passage would lead to increases in the “acceptability” of the hard drugs. The measure, which does not apply retroactively (Links to an external site.) to past convictions, takes effect (Links to an external site.) 30-days after the election, but the provisions pertaining to decriminalization of the hard drugs will not take effect until February 1, 2020.

While Oregon was the first state in the nation to decriminalize hard drugs, it was not the only state that made headlines for working towards the decriminalization of drug use on election night. Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approved the legalization of recreational marijuana and Mississippi voters approved the legalization of marijuana for medical use. While federal law prohibits marijuana use, the Washington Post (Links to an external site.) reported that about one-third of states have now passed measures that “ease the criminal consequences” associated with its use.

Oregon also passed (Links to an external site.) Measure 109, which legalized and approved the use of psilocybin, also referred to as magic mushrooms, for mental health treatment at licensed facilities. And, Washington, D.C. voters approved (Links to an external site.) the decriminalization of psychedelic substances, which would not legalize the substances, but make them a “lower enforcement priority” for police officers. However, the initiative needs to be approved by the D.C Council and then sent to Congress for review.

Video:
Oregon decriminalizes illicit drugs, four other states legalize weed | USA TODAY (Links to an external site.)
Oregon decriminalizes illicit drugs, four other states legalize weed | USA TODAY

1. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit organization, the Oregon victory demonstrates that decriminalization is politically viable. Do you believe that other states will soon follow Oregon’s lead? Outline the arguments that were made by both the proponents and opponents of Measure 110.

2. Practice good critical thinking and thoughtful online responding: Consider which side you agree with and why. What was your thought process? Find evidence to support the side of the argument you agree with more (e.g., book chapters, websites, journal articles, TED talks, videos, etc.), but make sure to mention the other side of the argument.

3. Your response should be about 150 words (no max) and you should reply to at least one other person.

Do you believe that other states will soon follow Oregon’s lead? Outline the arguments that were made by both the proponents and opponents of Measure 110.

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