It’s no news that the state of Oregon has decriminalized possession of all state-banned drugs, but what is news is the millions of tax dollars that are being funneled into community treatment for harm reduction services.
Measure 110 made big moves when putting an end to arrests and jail time for possession of small amounts of drugs, which has been replaced with a civil fine. The fine will be effaced if the individual in possession attends a substance use disorder assessment.
According to a press release from the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Kassandra Frederique said that about a year ago, Oregonians were in favor of Measure 110, where it would remove criminal penalties for “possession of drugs and expand to health services.”
She continued that thanks to Measure 110, thousands of Oregonians will never have to face the tragic “life-long barriers of having a drug arrest on their record.” And due to unjust targeted policing, Black and Indigenous people won’t have to face disproportionate treatment from authorities any longer.
Since the Measure has been enacted, an existing $300 million in funding is now being donated to community organizations to offer “adequate and culturally competent care” to those who need it most. Impressive estimates regarding the Measure in 2020 states that decriminalization would prevent roughly 9,000 arrests each year, which would result in a 95% reduction in racial inequalities in drug tests.
Managing director for legal affairs at DPA, Theshia Naidoo, told Filter that there haven’t been any drug possession arrests since the “decriminalization component took effect.” Laws within Measure 110 state that each illicit drug has its own threshold for consequences.
For example, Filter stated that less than 1 gram of heroin is deemed non-criminal, while 1-3 grams is a misdemeanor, and more than 3 grams is a felony. However, action to increase or remove said thresholds might arise. Measure 110 was established to boost Oregon’s access to drug treatment, which was one of the lowest in the country before the Measure’s approval.
Now, Measure 110 states that a portion of cannabis tax revenue will directly improve Oregon’s drug treatment systems and drug safety and education services. There are currently 70 organizations in 26 different counties within Oregon that have obtained funding under Measure 110.
The funds raised have aided providers in extending their services for those with low income or without insurance. Another plus is that tax money from cannabis revenue will help fund increased recovery, supportive, and transitional housing.