oregon becomes the first state to decriminalize hard drugs like cocaine and heroin

On 3 November 2020, Oregon State became the first to pass the vote successfully.

This happened amidst a nationwide initiative to lighten the enforcement on narcotic laws.

Americans voted against the criminalization of being in possession of hard drugs.

The drugs in question include methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.

The Oregon initiative will allow people arrested with small amounts of said narcotics to avoid hefty prosecution and possible jail time.

Instead, they will pay a fine of $100 and agree to drug rehabilitation therapy.

The funding appropriated for the financing of supporting drug treatment institutions comes from revenues collected through legalized marijuana sales

The State of Oregon legalized the sale and use of marijuana years ago.

Kassandra Frederique, the Drug Policy Alliance executive director, calls it a landmark victory.

She says that the time has dawned to stop criminalizing people for narcotic abuse.

Nurses and medical associations of Oregon also support the long, on-going initiative.

The passing of this proposal would save the state both money and time. The Oregon Democratic Party endorses it as well.

However, the Oregon Republican Party called the decriminalization initiative radical.

Many state prosecutors agreed that the decision is reckless.

Voters were also in support of legalizing the therapeutic use of narcotic mushrooms. This made Oregon the first US state to legalize the use of the psychedelic drug. 

The Progression of Narcotic Laws in The Other States

Oregon, it seems, is not the only state that progressed the decriminalization of narcotics.

In New Jersey and Arizona, measures to legalize marijuana for adult use gained voter approval.

New Jersey will follow up with a new measure to set up the cannabis market.

In Arizona, previously convicted offenders related to marijuana can have their records expunged.

Arizona seemed to have changed their view on marijuana use since 2016. Back then, the state narrowly avoided its legalization.

South Dakota became the first state to approve marijuana use for medicinal and recreational use in the same ballot.

In Montana, recreational cannabis received approval from voters.

Similarly, in Mississippi, the medicinal purposes of marijuana gained approval from the public.

The Progression of Other Proposals on the Ballot

 Narcotics and its legalization were only one of 120 proposals of state laws and amendment changes included on the 2020 ballot.

Other issues included several bothersome subjects that had US politics heating up in recent times.

Among these are voting rights, abortion laws, taxes, education, and racial inequity. In Colorado and Louisianna, laws concerning the protocols on abortion reached a decision.

In Colorado, voters were able to obsolete the prevention of abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy.

It remains similar to previous ballot outcomes in 2008, 2010, and 2014.

The votes in Louisiana, however, turned out differently. Despite nationwide legalisation, Lousianna voters asserted that there remains no constitutional right to abortion.

The Supreme Court might, however, overturn the result of Louisiana’s voting. In Florida, the issues were more concerned with minimum wages.

The State of Florida voted that the gradual increase in wages should reach a minimum of $15 per hour within the next six years.

This placed Florida in line with seven other states, including New Jersey and New York.

Votes on an increase in tobacco taxation gained approval in Oregon and Colorado. Colorado voters also agreed on a marginal decrease of income taxes.

In Illinois, voters stood against an increase of taxes against the wealthy, while in Arizona it gained more approval.

These increases would appropriate funding to increase teachers and other school employees’ salaries.

Flags, Names and Other Votes

In the State of Mississippi, a new state flag gained the voters’ approval.

Rhode Island voted on the change of its name, officially recognised as Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

It is not such a good thing as some believe the name to be reminiscent of slavery.

The vote ended close but in positive favor, with the last part of the name removed.

In California, people voted on the revoking of the 1996 initiative to prohibit affirmative action.

This initiative allows discrimination based on race, sex, or national origin for public employment, contracting, and education.

The votes did not find success. Other issues included Proposition 22, which was contested by Uber, Lyft, and other delivery services.

The proposition allows an exemption to a state law that would make drivers eligible for company benefits.

The measure became one of the most expensive ballot proposals in Californian history. Reportedly, companies like Uber spent an estimated $220 million.

Both Uber and Lyft that operate from San Francisco threatened to withdraw from California if they lost the vote.

However, the votes succeeded in keeping their drivers classified as independent contractors.