On Thursday, another prosecutor from Oregon said that his office will no longer pursue drug possession claims due to the voters’ passage of the decriminalization initiative in November. The decriminalization vote will officially be implemented in February 2021.
The recent move comes as federal regulators search for candidates to serve on the new advisory department. The department will identify how to disseminate proceeds for extended drug treatment programs in compliance with the ballot reform.
Mike Schmidt, Multnomah’s District Lawyer, is the 3rd prosecutor to proactively implement reforms per the voters’ will.
Although district lawyers in both Deschutes and Clackamas County have also enacted the policy change, Mike’s effort is specifically more significant since he presides over Oregon’s most inhabited county.
During a press release, Schmidt uttered that the approval of the 110 Ballot measure shows a strong voters’ support that drug consumption should be considered a health matter instead of an illegal act. He added that previous punitive drug measures and rules culminated in saturated-policing of various communities, over-dependence on correctional institutions and lack of public health and safety promotion. He went on to say that it’s high time to go past these failed measures, improve treatment accessibility and concentrate Oregon’s inadequate law implementation resources.
According to the voter-passed decriminalization bill, minor-level drug possession will be classified under Class E infraction, attracting a $100 maximum fine with zero jail time. That fine may be exempted when the individual demonstrates to the court that they excelled in substance abuse assessment.
According to an internal memo in Mike’s office, Multnomah voters accepted the 110 Ballot Measure by an incredible 77 percent margin.
Apart from decriminalization recommendations, the state ballot bill also proposes funding for substance abuse treatment through tax returns from legal cannabis sales.
Thus, OHA (Oregon Health Authority) is presently creating an Oversight and Accountability Council which will determine how to disburse grant aid for the creation of the treatment facilities.