MEDFORD, Ore. – Oregon is making history as the first state in the nation to decriminalize small drug possession. Oregon Measure 110, also known as, Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, goes into effect on February 1, 2021. It passed by 58.5% last November in the general election.
The new measure reclassifies some small drug possession offenses to lesser violations, like a $100 fine or completing a health assessment.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of people think well drugs are now legal. And that’s not the case,” said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.
He said small amounts of drug possession, will be charged as a civil violation, like a traffic offense. The measurements are…
The new measure also reduces some simple possession of substance from a felony to a misdemeanor, such as…
While police are at the forefront of decriminalization, Budreau told NBC5 there are still a lot of question marks when it comes to the availability of treatment
“We know that there’s not a lot more treatment out there than there was before Ballot Measure 110, so that’s a little bit of concern for us on the law enforcement is that we’re doing a criminalization part but the treatment part isn’t there yet,” said Lt. Budreau.
According to the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, funding from the state’s marijuana tax revenue and state prison savings will go toward bolstering treatment programs.
With the measure passing, it changes the way Budreau said police agencies can use their drug-sniffing K9’s, which can only identify if there are drugs present, not the amount.
“All the drug K9s are retiring or are not gonna bring them back once they are of a certain age,” said Lt. Budreau.
Oregon State Police Officer Captain Tim Fox also weighed in on what the change means for their patrols.
“It’s the same job. Instead of an arrest, it’ll be a citation. We won’t be taking people to jail for possession of methamphetamine as long as it’s under that amount,” said Captain Fox.
Even with the new measure – selling, distributing, and manufacturing drugs remains illegal. If convicted, both officers say you can still go to jail.
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university’s political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster’s Foundation.
Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]