Oregon House Republicans Release Proposal To Recriminalize Drug Possession, Reversing Voter-Approved Measure 110

January 17, 2024 · Marijuana Moment

Oregon House Republican lawmakers on Thursday released details of a proposal that would end Measure 110 by mandating misdemeanor penalties for drug possession and treatment to avoid jail.

House Republicans want to make possession of small amounts of fentanyl, heroin and meth a Class A misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $6,250, or both. Under the bill, users could avoid jail time with mandatory addiction treatment. The bill also would impose a similar misdemeanor penalty for public drug use.

In the coming weeks, Democratic lawmakers, who hold the majority in the Legislature, plan to release detailed proposals to address drug addiction for the short, 35-day session, which starts February 5.

Oregon voters in 2020 passed Measure 110, which decriminalizes possession of small amounts of hard drugs and puts a share of cannabis revenue into addiction programs and services. Criticism since then has mounted, with reaction split: Measure 110 supporters are urging Oregonians to give the measure a chance to succeed as programs begin. Others say smaller changes to the law are necessary to address public drug use and allow police to intervene. And others want Measure 110 repealed.

“The citizens of Oregon understand the failures of Measure 110,” said Rep. Rick Lewis (R-Silverton) one of the six GOP chief sponsors of the proposal. “We see the results on the streets, in the unacceptable overdose death rate and in the catastrophic consequences to our communities, to public safety and to livability. Change is needed, and we can’t afford to take small steps that fail to adequately address the problem.”

The proposal would require tougher prison sentences for drug dealers and manufacturers, including a mandatory prison sentence of at least three years for unlawful delivery or manufacturing of a controlled substance if they have a prior conviction within the last five years.

The bill’s chief sponsors include Reps. Kevin Mannix (R-Salem) and Christine Goodwin (R-Canyonville), who serve on the joint committee tasked with addressing the drug addiction crisis.

In a statement, Mannix said the bill would return accountability to the state and provide public safety and “compassionate rehabilitation services to addicted persons.”

Goodwin said the state needs to change direction and this bill starts that work.

“People do not feel safe,” Goodwin said. “Businesses are leaving. People are afraid to do business in our state.”

A Democratic proposal

Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton) said lawmakers are working on a comprehensive proposal.

“We are working, in conversation with our Republican colleagues, to put together a proposal that connects people to addiction treatment, gets drugs off our streets, and keeps our communities safe,” Lieber said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle. “We know we cannot go back to the failed war on drugs, and we cannot continue to allow Oregonians to die of drug overdoses on our streets. A policy has not been finalized, but once we do have a proposal to put forward, we look forward to thoroughly vetting the ideas through a public process.”

Among the potential ideas: Democratic lawmakers are weighing a proposal that would also allow misdemeanors for drug possession, but with smaller potential penalties than those proposed by the Republicans. The Democratic proposal would make possession a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a possible jail sentence of up to 30 days.

That proposal, which could change, would give people an opportunity to avoid the misdemeanor charge if they talked to a provider about treatment and other services. If they declined to get help, the charge would go to the courts, but they could still get the case discharged before trial if they entered a program. For cases that proceeded, people would be likely to access drug courts to get help and have charges expunged.

Democratic lawmakers have said they want tougher penalties for drug dealers, prevention and education and the courts to all have a role in the state’s response to the addiction crisis. (Full Story)

In categories:Legal State Bills
Tags:
Next Post

New Mexico Cannabis Bill Aims to Curtail Unregulated Market

As New Mexico marks the two-year anniversary of legalizing recreational cannabis, state lawmakers are actively revisiting the regulations governing its sale and use. Spearheaded by Senator Katy Duhigg (D-Albuquerque), the legislative body is set to introduce a comprehensive bill that aims to refine and…
Read
Previous Post

Cannabis Activist Dana Beal Busted for Marijuana Trafficking in Idaho

Irwin Dana Beal is behind bars tonight in Gooding County Jail in Southern Idaho, charged with felony marijuana trafficking. Bail was set at $250,000. The legendary activist who founded Cures Not Wars and the Global Marijuana March and a YIPPIE…
Read
Random Post

Minnesota Psychedelics Task Force Takes Shape, But Key Appointments And First Meeting Delayed

A Minnesota government psychedelics task force is being built out to prepare the state for the possible legalization of substances like psilocybin and ibogaine. But even though appointments to the panel are behind schedule and it missed a deadline to hold…
Read
Random Post

Australia is Punting Away $250 Million a Year in Tax Revenue by Not Legalizing Cannabis Says New Study

Australia Is Missing Out On At Least $250 Million Each Year That Cannabis Isn’t Legalized, Says New Report Canada and Uruguay have long legalized marijuana. Is Australia next? Unfortunately, Australia seems to be delaying cannabis legalization and each year that they don’t they are losing…
Read
Random Post

Long Beach, California To Slash Pot Taxes in Half for Stores in Good Standing

Long Beach, California is on track to establish an ordinance that will give cannabis retailers a minor tax break and reward the ones in good standing on their payments with a bigger tax break, cutting their local tax in half.…
Read
Random Post

Feds Signal Delta-8 Edibles Crackdown in New Warnings

The federal government is cracking down on delta-8 edibles that resemble popular snack foods, according to letters two agencies sent to six manufacturers. Though the letters cite violations of federal law related specifically to copycat products, the warnings hint a…
Read