With Oregon facing rampant public drug use, lawmakers backpedal on pioneering decriminalization law

January 24, 2024

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers in Oregon on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping new bill that would undo a key part of the state’s first-in-the-nation drug decriminalization law, a recognition that public opinion has soured on the measure amid rampant public drug use during the fentanyl crisis. It also aims to make it easier to prosecute dealers, to access addiction treatment medication, and to obtain and keep housing without facing discrimination for using that medication. The Legislature adjourned over the summer, but concern over the state’s drug crisis led Democrats to launch the committee in between sessions. Measure 110 directed the state’s cannabis tax revenue toward drug addiction treatment while decriminalizing “personal use” amounts of illicit drugs. Advocacy groups that have backed Oregon’s decriminalization law opposed the proposal to once again make “personal use” possession a crime.