By: HOLLY HARTZELL-THOMAS
The ballot measure 110 is the measure to reclassify drug possession offenses to lesser violations, resulting in a $100 fine or a full health assessment. Oregon is the first state to legalize all drugs including heroin and cocaine. Other states, such as California, have legalized Marijuana but nothing more than that. Oregon however, legalized Marijuana in 2014. Unlike some other states, which legalized it in 2016. Oregon did this to help the legal system, and not “cage people” as Natasha Lennard from The Intercept who wrote an article about Oregon and its decriminalization of drugs. Was this a good idea? Well, 1,293,276 people from Oregon would think so. This ballot passed by 17%, not everyone agreed though. 915,690 Oregonians voted “No” on this measure. Oregon isn’t just letting people buy and sell drugs however they please, instead they reduced the punishment to a fine and they also increased addiction treatment centers for people who do get caught with over the legal amount of drugs.
In an effort to reduce the War on Drugs, which was created by President Nixon in June of 1971, that identifies drug abuse as the number one public enemy. President Nixon also increased funding for controlled substance recovery programs, at the start of this government action there were 1,470 agents with a budget of $75 million, but now there are 5,000 agents and a budget of 2.03 billion dollars. Nixon wasn’t the only president to have a focus on drug control, Ronald Reagan and his wife started the “Just Say No” movement which highlights the dangers of drug use. You’re probably wondering why Oregon would legalize drugs such as Cocaine, Meth, and Heroin when they have such high mortality rates? Oregon realized addicts wouldn’t get help without the fear of being imprisoned instead of getting the help they need. The measure doesn’t only legalize drugs but also increases funding for treatment centers.
Oregon also legalized psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, for mental health treatment. Just like California legalized Marijuana for medical and recreational use, Oregon legalized psilocybin for therapeutic usage. A lot of people are confused as to why Oregon would legalize drugs when there are severe side effects to the usage of drugs, but now that they are legalized Oregon can tax the drugs that are estimated to bring in millions of dollars, which then will be used for addiction treatment centers. To much surprise four other states legalize the use of Marijuana for recreational and medical usage. These states include Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana. People are saying that the War on Drugs won over Oregon, but that actually on the contrary, Oregon can now tax, fine, and put a lot of money towards many resources to help people who suffer from addiction. Our new president Joe Biden has been very vocal about wanting to end the opioid crisis and is trying to get sufferers top of the line healthcare. Drug usage hit close to home for Biden because his son had dabbled in the world of drugs, and because of that Biden will use that compassion for his son to fuel his plan.
In conclusion, Oregon will now be able to legally tax drugs, and use that money towards addiction treatment centers. Our president, Joe Biden, has made it one of his priorities to help end the War on Drugs to make America a safer place to live. Having places to safely use heroin, especially because the needles can cause deadly infections, will save so many people’s lives because they can safely discard the used needles. Hopefully more states will follow in Oregon’s footsteps and help end the War on Drugs.