Oregon and the War on Drugs

Oregon and the War on Drugs

Ariana Mooney, Head Editor

According to the New York Times, the election decided 38 statewide citizen initiatives in addition to the presidential decision. Of these initiatives, many were related to the legalization or decriminalization of drugs across various states. Although 36 states pushed for the legalization of medical marijuana and 15 for recreational, Oregon took it a step further with the decriminalization of harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. 

In Oregon, possession of these drugs for recreational use is now seen as a violation similar to a traffic ticket rather than being punishable by jail time. The state is putting their efforts instead towards rehabilitation and treatment for abusers with the taxes gained from marijuana sales. Possession of larger amounts of these drugs can result in a misdemeanor and commercial amounts can result in felony charges, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Kassandra Fredrique, the executive director of the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, says that this initiative is like “taking a sledgehammer to the cornerstone of the drug war.”

Oregon also legalized the use of psilocybin (shrooms) for people 21 or older. Again, the state decided to prioritize the health benefits of the drug rather than criminalizing the users. According to healthline.com, psilocybin can help treat OCD, depression, anxiety, and other conditions. It can also aid the process in quitting addictions to worse substances such as nicotine, alcohol, and cocaine. 

As someone who has watched many people I know and love struggle with addictions of various substances, prioritizing health and rehabilitation rather than punishment sounds more than promising for the future of the United States. I think it would be better not only for the users but for their children or other loved ones that are affected by their addiction for them to go to rehab and heal rather than go to jail and either get worse or stay the same. Substance abuse has been stigmatized for so long that many forget that these are still people that just want to recover and live a normal life again. 


To read more about shrooms and the studies being done on them:


To read more about the other initiatives discussed during the election: