Election Results: States Continuing to Roll Back the War on Drugs

The Federal Docket

November 10, 2020

While most attention towards the 2020 Election has been centered around the presidential results, several states held referendums across the country regarding drug laws. Several states passed these referendums and added themselves to the growing list of states loosening their drug laws.

In Oregon, for example, the voters voted to decriminalize possession of drugs in favor of helping users seek treatment. This measure included decriminalizing drugs like cocaine and heroin in addition to marijuana. Meanwhile, Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota saw voters pass measures either decriminalizing or legalizing recreational marijuana or allowing medical marijuana.

The law in Oregon in particular is “modeled” after similar laws in Portugal and Greece, which has the lowest drug fatality rates in Western Europe. The New York Times has reported how Oregon’s law, which funnels money into treatment for addicts, goes further than other jurisdictions that have decriminalized hard drugs, such as Seattle, through prosecutorial discretion without including the additional funding for rehabilitation.

Click here to read the New York Times story.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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