Oregon may have been behind Washington when it comes to cannabis legalization, but if November’s ballot is any indication, they’re miles ahead in ending the war on drugs.
Two measures on November’s ballot, 110 and 109, aim to decriminalize drugs and psilocybin therapy in Oregon. And they’re gaining support.
Ballot Measure 110
The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act is an initiative that aims to decriminalize all drug possession and expand treatment options for addicts in Oregon.
IP 44, one of the initiative’s initial committees, collected 156,009 valid signatures. This was well above the 116,622 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot. They were collected well before the deadline as well, signaling that this initiative has broad support.
“Oregon law enforcement officers in 2017,” the initiative reads. “Arrested more than 8,000 people in cases where simple drug possession was the most serious offense. In many instances, the same people were arrested for drug possession, again and again, because they are unable to get treatment.”
The initiative has a ton of support from local and national organizations including the American College of Physicians, Oregon School Psychologists’ Association, Oregon Nurses Association, and and Law Enforcement Action Partnership.
While decriminalizing drugs might seem radical, the only dissent comes from people worried about funding. Cannabis taxes would pay for the treatment. And some of the funding would be redirected from school funding, which will likely put some voters off. Cannabis tax revenue is way higher than anticipated, so it shouldn’t really matter. But undoubtedly, it will to some.
A similar initiative in Washington failed to gather the signatures necessary to appear on November’s ballot.
Ballot Measure 109
One new ripple in this story is the support of democrat Earl Blumenauer. Blumenauer recently voiced his support via a newsletter and even asked for donations from his supporter.
The letter reads:
This is Congressman Earl Blumenauer and I am writing to encourage you to vote Yes on Measure 109, the psilocybin therapy measure. I support 109 because it tackles an important issue in our community, mental health, and it does so in an innovative and responsible way. Measure 109 gives Oregonians who suffer from depression and anxiety the opportunity to overcome their mental health challenges through a program designed for safety and support.
It’s healthcare policy done right, and it will help thousands.
As an Oregon legislator, a local government leader, and a United States Congressman, I’ve spent much of my public life advocating for better health care—from universal coverage, to better end of life care, to opening up research into the therapeutic benefits of medicines that have been unwisely blocked at the federal level.
Those same values are why I strongly support Ballot Measure 109 and hope you will join me in voting yes.
Measure 109 will offer hope in the form of a breakthrough treatment option in Oregon: psilocybin therapy. Research at America’s top universities shows that psilocybin therapy can help people suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction. Developed with therapeutic and mental health experts, Measure 109 brings this treatment to Oregon through a licensed, research-based system that supports and protects those in urgent need.
One potential benefit is particularly encouraging to me. In Congress, I have worked hard to deliver better end-of-life care to all Americans. Studies are showing that psilocybin therapy can help address the profound end-of-life depression and anxiety that can come with a terminal diagnosis. Anyone who has had to confront that issue themselves or with a loved one understands how devastating it can be. Measure 109 is an opportunity to continue Oregon’s leadership on improving end-of-life care.
I also appreciate that Measure 109 was carefully and responsibly written by therapeutic and mental health experts, with extensive safeguards and oversight by the Oregon Health Authority.
Measure 109 is an important tool, and it deserves your support. This Measure can win in November, it just needs the resources to educate voters about its benefits and protections. To do that, the campaign needs resources.
Contribute to Measure 109 today and help them reach voters with their message of healing.
One Bright Spot on the Horizon
Oregon’s progressive, drug-reforming ballot measures, will appear on the ballot despite the added burden of COVID-19 complicating signature collection. This is a hopeful sign that voters are ready for change when it comes to the failed war on drugs. That change comes in the form of drug decriminalization and psilocybin therapy in Oregon.
No matter how you vote, when you look at mass incarceration, and the skyrocketing rates of overdoses and homelessness, you have to admit there is a problem. How to fix it is where the government comes in. These measures not only offer solutions but offer Oregon the chance to pioneer a new way of looking at our relationship with drugs.