Residents in Oregon County will no longer be subject to minor drug possession court cases thanks to the voters’ initiative to decriminalize all drugs. This decree comes months before its formal stipulation across the state.
According to a letter sent on Monday this week to police chiefs, Clackamas County District Attorney’s office uttered that although it goes against the reform adjustment, officials acknowledge the voters’ will.
The letter also said that allowing police to investigate and deliver cases for prosecution within the period ending in 1st February 2020(which may not culminate in any sanction or supervised court treatment) is inefficient utilization of criminal justice resources.
The initiative garnered 58% of the votes and stipulates that a low-level drug possession will be classified as a Class E infraction that attracts a court fine not exceeding $100 with zero jail time. The fine can be waived when an individual proves to the court that they’ve taken a substance abuse assessment.
The provision also recommends funding of substance abuse treatment using tax proceeds from the sale of legal marijuana.
In an email, the district attorney’s office added that possession of controlled substances is still illegal. The letter also states that the office’s decision is not poised to deprive Oregon’s police officers the opportunity to carry out lawful searches, investigations, and arrests. It points out that proper communication regarding this policy is crucial.
This new discretionary decree is in tandem with how multiple counties within the state approached cannabis reform following the legalization of adult-use marijuana by Oregon voters during 2014.
Anthony Johnson, the main petitioner of the decriminalization policy, said that it’s prudent to refrain from arresting and imprisoning folks for drug possession before the policy is formally instigated since Oregon voters are clear that’s high time to start handling drug misuse cases as a health issue rather than a criminal one. He added that Oregon’s district attorneys should comply with the voter’s will.
Oregon voters’ action has motivated efforts in the nearby Washington State to adopt the drug decriminalization approach.