Oregon Legislature approves invoice to re-criminalize sure drug possession

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Portland Police cite a fentanyl consumer for open possession on the road.


The measure, HB4002, now goes to Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek’s desk for her consideration. Kotek has not publicly mentioned whether or not she helps the measure, although in late January the governor joined native officers in declaring a fentanyl state of emergency in downtown Portland.

Requested concerning the governor’s subsequent steps relating to the laws, Kotek’s workplace didn’t point out whether or not she would signal it however mentioned any modifications to Measure 110 “must move the balancing take a look at of concrete, measurable improved outcomes for people who’re scuffling with dependancy and accountability.”

Underneath the measure, offenders may resist six months in jail, or, instead of legal penalties, elect to bear drug therapy.

Underneath the voter-approved measure, possession of small quantities of medication resembling heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine was now not punishable by jail time and carried penalties extra akin to a visitors ticket. It additionally expanded entry to dependancy help and different well being providers.

Whereas an early examine suggests there was no hyperlink between Measure 110 and deadly overdoses in Oregon after one 12 months, critics of the poll initiative have continued to blast its enactment, blaming it for the fentanyl disaster and climbing overdose deaths that adopted.

“You take a look at what has occurred: open fentanyl, open medication on the streets,” mentioned Republican state Rep. Jeff Helfrich, including, “(Measure) 110 is an unmitigated catastrophe.”

“Although lawmakers can have rather more to do in future classes to proceed making progress on the fentanyl-fueled drug overdose and dependancy disaster going through our state, I used to be proud to face on the precise aspect of historical past by casting my vote in favor for HB 4002,” Senate Republican chief Tim Knopp mentioned in an announcement.

“Passing this invoice will put Oregon on a path to restoration and signifies and finish to the nationwide decriminalization motion,” he added.

The invoice’s critics, in the meantime, have argued that re-criminalization would disproportionately hurt communities of colour.

“It isn’t sufficient to observe the system once we know it’s a system that has bias constructed into it,” mentioned Jennifer Parrish Taylor, the director of advocacy and public coverage at City League of Portland. “I concern that we’ll be again subsequent 12 months, listening to these tales of hurt, determining find out how to make our communities entire.”

This story has been up to date with extra particulars.

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