The state of Oregon became the first in the nation to decriminalize small amounts of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine by overwhelmingly passing Measure 110 on Tuesday.
According to The Oregonian, the measure will reduce misdemeanor drug possession to a non-criminal violation, punishable by measures similar to a traffic stop. Violators will be given a ticket and a $100 fine, or be given the option of being screened for a subtance abuse disorder.
Those found with larger amounts of drugs, who would have previously been charged with a felony, will now face a misdemeanor charge. The measure also redirects tax revenue from the sale of legal marijuana in the state toward Addiction Recover Centers, where people are screened for drug use and can also receive treatment for drug addiction.
Supporters of the measure say the new policy will reduce the state's jail population, and in particular, free many offenders of non-violent crimes. Supporters also say the bill will promote racial equality in the state, as drug laws disproportionately affect Black people and other people of color.
Opponents of the measure say it promotes drug use and will lead to more overdose deaths and overwhelm addiction centers in the state.
The Oregonian also reports that the measure received funding from many out-of-state donors, including Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The Associated Press reports that the measure passed with about 60% support.
In addition to decriminalizing hard drug use, Oregon also legalized the sale and recreational use of Psilocybin, or magic mushrooms. The Associated Press reports that the measure passed with 56% support.