No matter how this presidential election pans out, there were at least a few victories declared last night that we as Americans can all gather around to celebrate, together, as a People.
Victories, namely, concerning drugs.
Not only did Oregon become the first state in the nation to decriminalize ALL drugs, but four other states passed both recreational and medical cannabis legalization legislation. All of which deals a striking blow to America’s failed War on Drugs.
Oregon’s decriminalization bill is a huge step forward and one that could become a more common step as states legalize and decriminalize different specific substances. It’s a blanket decriminalization measure that makes small amounts of schedule I substances legal to carry on your person (meaning cocaine, heroine, LSD, meth, etc).
That step will drastically reduce the amount of resources Oregon spends fighting petty non-violent personal-possession drug offenses, and it will severely limit the number of non-violent offenders filing into Oregon’s prisons. Those resources can then be spent to offer better substance abuse treatment options, and to fund drug-related education programs throughout the state. It effectively turns the “War on Drugs” in Oregon into a “War on Substance Abuse.”
Oregon also separately legalized the use of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) for people over the age of 21. It’s another huge step and one that will open up an entirely new industry in the state, creating thousands of jobs for Oregonians and creating new tax revenue streams for the state.
Beyond Oregon’s victories against the War on Drugs, last night Arizona, North Dakota, Montana and New Jersey all recreationally legalized cannabis; and in Mississippi cannabis was medically legalized. That brings the number of recreationally legal states to 15 and the number of medically legal states to 45.
“This is incredible,” Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, told the New York Times. “This is like taking a sledgehammer to the cornerstone of the drug war.”