Oregon voters on Tuesday approved the most progressive drug policy in the U.S. with a pair of ballot measures that legalize psilocybin mushrooms for mental health treatment, decriminalize small amounts of street drugs and establish a drug treatment program funded by marijuana tax dollars.
Oregon voters passed both Measure 109 and Measure 110, which both drastically alter the state’s drug policy as advocates aim to combat addiction using public health tools instead of incarceration.
Measure 109 creates a program for licensed professionals to administer magic mushrooms to help with depression, anxiety, and addiction—but people would only be allowed to consume psilocybin at regulated treatment centers.
Measure 110 decriminalizes small amounts of cocaine, meth, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, MDMA, methadone and oxycodone for both adults and juveniles and instead imposes a maximum $100 fine for possession.
The initiative overhauls the state’s addiction treatment program by creating 16 “health assessment centers” from marijuana tax revenue; if someone is caught with small amounts of a controlled substance, they can either pay the $100 fine or get the fee waived by taking a free health assessment at a treatment center.
At treatment centers, clients will be assigned individual case managers for screening and referral services, but only if the client “indicates a desire” to address any identified substance abuse issues, according to the text of the measure.
Advocates have been pushing for drug reform in recent years, arguing that users need treatment instead of jail time, especially because there are large racial disparities in who gets punished for drug crimes. The ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg along with his wife Priscilla Chan, all donated money to pass Measure 110. It’s also endorsed by the Oregon Nurses Association and the Oregon Public Health Association and the NAACP Portland.
“Instead of arresting and jailing people for possessing small amounts of drugs, Measure 110 would shift to a health-based approach, and use marijuana tax revenue to pay for more addiction and other health services. Measure 110 will save money and save lives,” the Drug Policy Alliance said.
Some healthcare providers say the measure doesn’t do enough to ensure those addicted to drugs get treatment, and would divert marijuana tax revenue currently used for K-12 schools and existing addiction treatment programs. “It would only require the creation of 16 centers to provide screenings and referrals. It does not require the creation of a single new treatment bed,” Paul C. Coelho, Salem Health Pain Clinic’s medical director, wrote in a Statesman Journal op-ed. “Referrals are not treatment. Screenings are not access.”
Critics, including the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, also say it would be dangerous for children. “The measure would make it so a 15-year-old can get caught with a pocket full of meth, and the only consequences
- Measure 110 in Oregon would provide drug recovery services partially funded through marijuana taxes.
- Polls in Oregon closed at 11 p.m. ET.
- The measure would also reclassify the penalties for specified drugs.
- Insider will have live results on the propositions as soon as they come in.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Polls in Oregon closed at 11 p.m. ET.
Oregon’s 2020 ballot includes Measure 110, which would provide statewide drug recovery services partially funded by marijuana taxes and would reclassify the penalties for certain drugs.
The text for Oregon Measure 110 reads as follows:
Measure mandates establishment/ funding of “addiction recovery centers” (centers) within each existing coordinated care organization service area by October 1, 2021; centers provide drug users with triage, health assessments, treatment, recovery services. To fund centers, measure dedicates all marijuana tax revenue above $11,250,000 quarterly, legislative appropriations, and any savings from reductions in arrests, incarceration, supervision resulting from the measure. Reduces marijuana tax revenue for other uses. Measure reclassifies personal non-commercial possession of certain drugs under specified amount from misdemeanor or felony (depending on person’s criminal history) to Class E violation subject to either $100 fine or a completed health assessment by center. Oregon Health Authority establishes council to distribute funds/ oversee implementation of centers. Secretary of State audits biennially. Other provisions.
Result of “Yes” Vote
“Yes” vote provides addiction recovery centers/services; marijuana taxes partially finance (reduces revenues for other purposes); reclassifies possession of specified drugs, reduces penalties; requires audits.
Result of “No” Vote
“No” vote rejects requiring addiction recovery centers/services; retains current marijuana tax revenue uses; maintains current classifications/ penalties for possession of drugs.
Oregon could become the first U.S. state to decriminalize possessing hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD in a ballot measure during Tuesday’s election.
If voters pass Measure 110, users found in low-level possession of the substances would have the option of paying $100 fines or attending new, free addiction recovery centers instead of being arrested and facing jail time, The Associated Press reported.
The recovery centers would be funded by tax revenue from retail marijuana sales in the state, which was the country’s first to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Yes on 110, the organization sponsoring the ballot measure, stresses that the act does not legalize any drugs.
“No change is made in the criminal code for delivery, manufacture, and other commercial drug offenses. These offenses will remain a crime,” according to the website. “No change is made for other crimes that may be associated with drug use, such as driving under the influence and theft.”
Approximately one in 10 Oregonians struggle with substance use disorder, according to Yes on 110.
“This measure expands access to treatment and removes unfairly harsh punishments for minor, nonviolent drug offenses, so people with addiction can more easily recover. People will no longer be arrested and put in jail simply for possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, they will receive a health assessment and be connected to the right treatment or recovery services, including housing assistance, to help them get their lives back on track.”
The ballot measure is backed by the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon chapter of the American College of Physicians and the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians.
“Punishing people for drug use and addiction is costly and hasn’t worked. More drug treatment, not punishment, is a better approach,” the groups said in a statement obtained by the outlet.
The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that convictions for possession of a controlled substance would decrease by 3,679 or 90.7 percent.
“Every hour, police in Oregon arrest someone for drugs – at a time when Oregon has missing children, unsolved murders and a long backlog of cold cases. This measure will free-up police to focus more on what matters,” according to Yes on 110.
Measure 110 is also supported by the Democratic Party of Oregon and several human and civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP Portland.
It is opposed by two dozen district attorneys who argue the measure “recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most dangerous types of drugs (and) will lead to an increase in acceptability of dangerous drugs.”
“This is a terrible idea. It’s disconnected to what’s best for Oregonians. It will lead to increased crime and increased drug use,” Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton said.
Former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), a former emergency room physician and the longest-serving governor in Oregon history, also urged voters to reject Measure 110 earlier this month in a blog post.
“I understand that a
A video in which Oregon Health Authority officials dressed in costume give COVID-19 information is getting national attention, almost two weeks after it was initially posted.
The reason? A screenshot of the video showing an official in sad clown makeup reading off the daily virus death toll was shared widely on social media after it was tweeted by an Oregonian/OregonLive reporter, Samantha Swindler.
The story has been covered by Fox News, The Independent, TMZ and others.
Dr. Claire Poché, a public health physician with the Oregon Health Authority, kicked off the Halloween safety video by removing her surgical mask to reveal a full face of clown make-up, somewhat reminiscent of the Joker, one of Batman’s creepiest rivals.
“As of today, there have been 38,160 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon, with 390 new cases being reported today,” Poché said. “Sadly, we are also reporting three deaths today, bringing the statewide total for COVID-19 related deaths to 608.”
The optics aren’t ideal, especially as Oregon, like many states, deals with surging coronavirus cases.
Robb Cowie, communications director for the Oregon Health Authority, said the agency regretted how that part of the video was handled.
“We regret that, earlier this month, three tragic COVID-19 deaths were announced during a Facebook Live event focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19 during Halloween celebrations,” Cowie said in a statement.
“We mourn every person who has died from COVID-19 and we acknowledge the pain and loss their passing has left in the lives of their loved ones,” he said. “We’ll continue to do everything we can to warn Oregonians about the risks of COVID-19 and the steps they can take to protect themselves and the people around them.”
The rest of the video was a little less dark.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping how Oregonians celebrate holidays, and that includes Halloween but it doesn’t mean Halloween can’t still be spooky and fun this year,” Dr. Shimi Sharief, a health adviser to the Oregon Health Authority, said later while dressed in a fuzzy animal onesie.
Sharief and Poché offered plenty of trick-or-treating alternatives and did an informative question-and-answer session, which included an explanation about why trick-or-treating is riskier than going through a drive-thru.
“Although outdoor activities are generally less risky than indoor activities,” Poché said, “trick-or-treating is high risk because kids tend to get excited, which can lead to crowding people who aren’t members of their household.”
It isn’t until seven minutes in that either doctor acknowledges they are wearing costumes, and they never discuss the decision to wear them.
Poché refers to herself as a clown obliquely about 12 and a half minutes into the video
“As for me, we clowns kind of took a backseat to Halloween,” she said. “We were kind of relegated to birthday parties for several years. There were some bad actors who dressed up as clowns back in Halloween, I don’t know, maybe it was 2015, but I’m hoping to bring us back as the fun-loving, and happy clowns that we
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In what would be a first in the U.S., possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other hard drugs could be decriminalized in Oregon under a ballot measure that voters are deciding on in Tuesday’s election.
Measure 110 is one of the most watched initiatives in Oregon because it would drastically change how the state’s justice system treats people caught with amounts for their personal use.… Read More
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — War veterans with PTSD, terminally ill patients and others suffering from anxiety are backing a ballot measure that would legalize controlled, therapeutic use in Oregon of psilocybin mushrooms, which they say has helped them immeasurably.
“After chemo failed, I went to a pretty dark place,” said Mara McGraw, a Portland woman who has terminal cancer. “I was feeling hopeless about treatment and about the future.”
Then she tried the psychedelic mushroom, more commonly known as “magic mushrooms,” with a trained facilitator standing by.
“It was a very safe and nurturing experience for me. I immediately felt a release from the fear,” McGraw told a video news conference.
On the national level, a clinical trial of psilocybin is underway to test its potential antidepressant properties, the U.S. government’s National Library of Medicine says. Backers of Measure 109 say the state, which was the first in the nation to decriminalize marijuana, should lead the way in legalizing therapeutic, regulated use of psilocybin, often referred to as magic mushrooms.
A second Oregon ballot question, Measure 110, would decriminalize possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, LSD, oxycodone and some other drugs. Its backers say drug addiction is a health issue and should not cause people to be imprisoned and saddled with criminal records. If Oregon voters approve Measure 110, the state would be the first to decriminalize those drugs.
The psilocybin initiative, however, is about overcoming depression, supporters say.
“An estimated 1 in every 5 adults in Oregon is coping with a mental health condition,” 20 doctors and other health care workers wrote in the voters pamphlet. “We support Measure 109 because it provides a new treatment for many that might break through where others fall short.”
It would require the Oregon Health Authority to allow licensed, regulated production and possession of psilocybin exclusively for administration by licensed facilitators to clients. There would be a two-year development period for the program.
The only argument in opposition in the pamphlet came from the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
“We believe that science does not yet indicate that psilocybin is a safe medical treatment for mental health conditions,” the groups said.
But several military veterans believe psilocybin therapy is a life-saver, especially when suicide among veterans is so high. Some 20 veterans die by suicide each day in the U.S., about 1.5 times higher than those who have not served in the military.
Chad Kuske said he developed post-traumatic stress disorder after serving as a Navy SEAL for 18 years with 12 combat deployments,
“I was really suffering from stress, anxiety, depression. I was angry all the time,” Kuske said. Then a former member of his team visited Kuske in Portland on his way to a psilocybin therapy session. Through his friend, Kuske also signed up for one.
“I’m very fortunate that that I was able to find this therapy, administered by people who care and who really had my best interests in mind and