Oregon made history Tuesday in the movement to reconsider the nation’s war on drugs by becoming the first state to decriminalize small amounts of heroin and other street drugs.
Oregeon has become the first US state to decriminalise the possession of all drugs, including LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Voters overwhelmingly supported Measure 110, a coup for the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, the same criminal justice reform group that backed Oregon’s successful marijuana legalization effort in 2014.
Near-final returns as of 10:20 a.m. Wednesday showed the measure winning overwhelmingly, 59% to 41%. Its margin of victory exceeded 350,000 votes.
Peter Zuckerman, campaign manager for Measure 110, called the win “a big step forward.”
“Today is a huge day of celebration but the work is not over and we have a lot more work to do to win a better system for everybody,” he said.
Supporters believe U.S. drug policy has filled the country’s jails with nonviolent offenders who need treatment instead of incarceration and has disproportionately affected generations of Black people.
The Drug Policy Alliance poured more than $4 million into the decriminalization campaign, far outspending the $95,000 raised by opponents. The organization receives support from billionaire philanthropist and investor George Soros, who is on the alliance board. Read more here.