Oregon Decriminalizes Heroin With Election Proposition, Not Legal But Just Legal Enough

The 2020 election gave potheads reason to celebrate: five new states legalized marijuana for adults. But Oregon went one step further – dare we say in the wrong direction – by decriminalizing small amounts of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Say what? The new initiative, officially titled Oregon Measure 110, will allow those in possession of hard drugs off the hook with only a $100 fine and by attending an addiction recovery program. How is Oregon paying for those programs? With all the green the state is making from legalized marijuana. So…using income from one drug to pay to get people off another drug. ‘Cause that makes sense.

“Today’s victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. That organization, along with the Oregon Democratic Party, supported the initiative. Republicans considered it “radical.”

Drug dealers are surely rejoicing but, um, do we really want to destigmatize street drugs that have killed tens of thousands of people?


Photo: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Let this be a reminder that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe – or advisable. Cannibalism, marrying your cousin, driving naked, and owning a flamethrower are all technically legal, but these are not bandwagons we want Americans to jump on. No story that starts with, “I was high on heroin and…” ever ends well. (Haven’t you seen Requiem For a Dream or read Permanent Midnight?)

This initiative will keep people out of jail, sure, but it won’t stop them from doing stupid shit while high…or from dying. DARE had it right all along: Just say “no” to drugs.

Cover Photo: mladenbalinovac (Getty Images)

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