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Oregon wants to Recriminalize Small Drug Possessions after Opioid Crisis shook the State

Oregon wants to Recriminalize Small Drug Possessions after Opioid Crisis shook the State

Salem, OR: Two significant legislative proposals in Oregon are one step closer to being enacted during this brief session.

Progress in Salem with potential new housing laws and Measure 110, the drug use decriminalization law passed by voters in 2020. In every instance, the bills must go through additional steps at the capitol before being enacted into law.

An amendment to Measure 110, known as HB 4002, has been approved by the Oregon House of Representatives on Thursday. This amendment would bring back criminal penalties for individuals found with small quantities of drugs. In other developments, the Senate approved a set of bills to tackle the state’s housing crisis, including SB 1530 B and SB 1537 B.

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HB 4002 was approved with the support of 51 votes from both sides. Many proponents argue that it’s time for a shift.

“I entered this building two weeks ago fully aware that a change was necessary because our current approach is ineffective,” stated Rep. Dacia Grayber of Southwest Portland and East Beaverton.

The Coalition to Fix and Improve Measure 110 stated that they would withdraw the ballot initiatives if HB 4002 and the corresponding financial package in HB 5204 are approved by the Senate and signed by the Governor. “A law that accomplishes 85% of our proposal is highly valuable for saving lives and communities without waiting for a ballot measure to pass and be implemented later.”

Regarding HB 4002, supporters of the bill have stated that modifications made by legislators during this session may enhance addiction services and streamline the process of convicting drug dealers. Representative Christine Goodwin stated that Oregonians are ready for the drug decriminalization experiment to end.

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However, opponents of drug recriminalization had a different reaction to the advancement of HB 4002. The American Civil Liberties Union expressed their concern over a recent decision made by the Oregon House of Representatives.

In the Senate, a new housing package worth millions has been approved, with Governor Tina Kotek leading the way to address the housing crisis. This initiative enhances housing production and provides eligible cities with a one-time extension of urban growth boundaries.

“We’ve been addressing this matter as a bipartisan concern,” stated Sen. Kayse Jama (D, District 24). “We will need to persist with a long-term strategy.”

The housing funding initially planned to allocate $500 million but has been decreased to around $370 million.

“We are currently facing a housing crisis,” stated Sen. Dick Anderson (R, District 5). The senator mentioned that the issue will not disappear overnight due to these bills. We need to consistently keep putting in the effort.

Up next: the housing bills are on their way to the House for amendments while HB 4002 is making its way to the Senate for the same purpose.

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