Heroin, coke, and other drugs to be decriminalized by new Oregon bill

It has yet to be signed by Governor Kate Brown

The state of Oregon is working toward making possession of small amounts of certain drugs a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony for first-time offenders.

The state passed House Bill (HB) 2355 on July 6, making the possession of substances such as heroin, meth, cocaine, acid, mushrooms, peyote, and other drugs a misdemeanor on the first offense.

Vice reported that if the bill is signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, it would give first-time offenders a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony depending on the amount of each substance and whether they have a previous criminal history.

This bill comes a year after Oregon was named the second in the country for opioid abuse. Currently, Oregon is working toward enrolling offenders in treatment programs instead of prison.

“We are tying to move policy towards treatment rather than prison beds,” Republican state senator Jackie Winters told the Washington Post in an earlier article.

The Statesman Journal also reported that another part of the bill requires police to write down each citation of every person they stop so the state can access the data to ‘reconfigure its practices’. Oregon Governor Kate Brown still has to sign the bill for it to become official. Regardig the subject, she told the Post she’s “looking forward to it.”

“While we still have much work ahead, HB 2355 represents an important step towards creating a more equitable justice system to better serve all Oregonians,” Brown said in a statement.

“Addressing disparities that too often fall along racial and socioeconomic lines should not be political issues. Here in Oregon, we’re demonstrating that we can make meaningful progress to improve the lives of Oregonians by working together around our shared values.”

Oregon was the first to decriminalize weed in 1973 and became the third state to legalize it in 2014, and if Brown signs the bill into law, she’ll be continuing the fight to the reverse war on drugs.

University of Oregon