Friday, March 05, 2021

032 The Erickson Report for February 25 to March 10, Page 2: Good News on the War on Drugs

 032 The Erickson Report for February 25 to March 10, Page 2: Good News on the War on Drugs

Some might not think this is good news, but I do and it's my show, so here we go.

As of February 1, the state of Oregon has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone, and other hard drugs.

This the result of a public referendum which passed by a 16-point margin in November.

I'll mention in passing that I don't think that LSD deserves to be lumped in as a "hard drug" with the rest on that list; there is, at least, no evidence of an addiction to LSD, but leave that aside.

The point is that now, instead of years in prison followed by difficulty in finding both housing and employment, those found in possession of small amounts of the included drugs would face a $100 fine and a health assessment that could lead to addiction counseling.

The measure also establishes a network of addiction recovery centers, to be funded from the millions of dollars of tax revenue Oregon gets from its legalized marijuana industry.

In addition to treatment, the centers would be involved in housing and job assistance to provide long-term stability for people struggling with addiction.

Another benefit is that decriminalization will likely lead to a reduction in racial and ethnic disparities in drug-related convictions and arrests.

While this is a first for the US, several countries, including Portugal, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, have already decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs without the surge in drug use that opponents always predict if we finally give up on our useless, failed, so-called war on drugs.

Oregon is good news.

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