In a blow to US drug war, Oregon votes to decriminalize narcotics as five states legalize marijuana

Critics of the nation’s failed so-called “War on Drugs” celebrated a number of victories Tuesday night as Oregon became the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize personal drug possession and voters in five states backed the legalization of marijuana.

Fifty-nine percent of Oregonians backed Measure 110, which starting February 1 will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and oxycodone or Percocet. The penalty for possession will be a $100 fine—which may be avoidable if a person agrees to take part in a health assessment—putting drug possession on par with a traffic violation in Oregon.

The Drug Policy Alliance, which authored Measure 110 in Oregon and spent $4 million in support of its passage, said the election results are “like taking a sledgehammer to the cornerstone of the drug war.”

“Measure 110 is arguably the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date. It shifts the focus where it belongs—on people and…

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