Oregon, a West Coast state in the United States known for its progressive attitudes as one the first in the country to legalize marijuana, has most recently passed an unprecedented bill through its legislature that aims to decriminalize the personal possession at least six illicit drugs.
The first is House Bill 378, which aims to "reduce drug-related property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors", followed by House Bill 2355 with the goal to "decriminalize at least six drugs, as long as the person doesn’t have any prior felonies or more than two prior drug convictions". Both bills passed through House and Senate and will now head to Governor Kate Brown's desk for her signature.
If the bills pass, Oregon could become among one the first states to decriminalize illicit substances like MDMA, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine so long as they remain within the bounds "personal quantities" and are not intended for distribution.
Oregon lawmakers are pushing for this change with aims to re-categorize drug-related issues as health concerns rather than criminal charges. “We are tying to move policy towards treatment rather than prison beds,” State Sen. Jackie Winters explained. “We can’t continue on the path building more prisons when ten the underlying root cause the crime is substance use.”