The Oregon Democratic Party on Wednesday formally endorsed statewide initiatives to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes and decriminalize possession of all currently illicit drugs while investing in substance misuse treatment.
Both drug policy reform measures officially qualified for the state’s November ballot over the summer—and both would make Oregon the first state in the country to enact such policy changes if voters approve them. The Oregon Democratic Party is telling residents to vote “yes.”
Under the psilocybin measure, adults would be able to access the psychedelic in a medically supervised environment. There aren’t any limitations on the types of conditions that would make a patient eligible for the treatment.
The decriminalization initiative would remove criminal penalties for low-level drug possession offenses. It would also use existing tax revenue from marijuana sales, which voters legalized in 2014, to fund expanded substance misuse treatment programs.
Vote YES on Measure 110: Instead of arresting and jailing people for personal possession of small amounts of drugs, would expand access to drug treatment services paid for by marijuana taxes. @voteYESon110 #orpol
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told Marijuana Moment in January that he was in favor of the psilocybin reform proposal and that he would be working to boost the campaign as the election approaches. Last month, he wrote in an email blast that passing the measure is necessary “because it tackles an important issue in our community, mental health, and it does so in an innovative and responsible way.”
Also last month, the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission determined that the decriminalization initiative would reduce felony and misdemeanor convictions for drug possession by 91 percent, and that reduction would be “substantial for all racial groups, ranging from 82.9 percent for Asian Oregonians to approximately 94 percent for Native American and Black Oregonians.”
The campaign behind that measure recently released its first ad urging Oregonians to support it.
Here’s a status update on other 2020 drug policy reform campaigns across the country:
Montana’s secretary of state also announced in August that cannabis activists collected more than enough signatures to qualify a pair of complementary legalization measures.
The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections certified last month that activists submitted enough valid signatures to place a measure to decriminalize plant- and fungi-based psychedelics in the nation’s capital.
The New Jersey legislature approved putting a cannabis legalization referendum before voters as well.
And in Mississippi, activists gathered enough signatures to qualify a medical cannabis legalization initiative for the ballot—though lawmakers also approved a competing (and from advocates’ standpoint, less desirable) medical marijuana proposal that will appear alongside the campaign-backed initiative.
Idaho activists behind a medical marijuana legalization initiative were hoping to get a second wind after a federal judge said recently that the state must make accommodations for a separate ballot campaign due to signature gathering complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the other group, hopes are dashed.
Washington State activists had planned to pursue a drug decriminalization and treatment measure through the ballot, but citing concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, they announced in July that they will be targeting the legislature instead.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.
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