Activists in Oregon this weekend launched a ballot measure campaign that aims to decriminalize low-level drug possession throughout the state, according to a Marijuana Moment report.
Advocates argue that the “Drug Treatment and Recovery Act,” or IP 44, would address Oregon’s addiction crisis better than current prohibition practices, would reduce unfair prison sentencing, and would free up valuable police time.
“This measure expands access to treatment and removes unfairly harsh punishments for minor, nonviolent drug offenses, so people with addiction can more easily recover. People will no longer be arrested and put in jail simply for possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, they will receive a health assessment and be connected to the right treatment or recovery services, including housing assistance, to help them get their lives back on track.” — Excerpt from the IP 44 campaign website
The initiative would authorize the use of legal cannabis tax revenue to establish Addiction Recovery Centers throughout the state and would increase the availability of beneficial treatment services, peer support, and housing opportunities for people with substance use disorders. The plan would also improve access to naloxone hydrochloride, which can treat deadly narcotic overdoses, and would offer education including overdose prevention.
Oregon schools, however, may ultimately oppose the campaign’s plan to use cannabis tax revenues, as this would put a cap on the amount of cannabis tax money that goes into education each year — some estimates say schools could see their cannabis tax funding reduced by up to two-thirds.
Activists last year also announced an initiative to legalize medical psilocybin in Oregon.