It’s not often that laws get repealed nowadays, but when it does, it’s usually because voters aren’t happy with it. Well, such a thing is happening in Oregon, it seems, as voters have expressed their dissatisfaction with one of the more infamous landmark laws within the state.
The law potentially on the chopping block is Measure 110, which decriminalizes small amounts of street drugs. It also poured hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into treatment programs and services. It’s one of the more controversial laws put into place; one of the first of its kind, in fact. Many lawmakers around the United states has considered the law to be a sort of experiment within Oregon, and so far, it doesn’t seem to be going so well in the court of public opinion.
Emerson College Polling, a rather reputable polling system, held a survey for 1,000 registered Oregon voters to see what they thought of the law and how the state is doing in general, with the margin of error being +/-3%. 64% of Oregon voters support repealing parts of the law, and 54% say they would support a complete repeal of Measure 110.
It seems to be a non-partisan issue. People, no matter if they’re Republican or Democrat, are not in favor of this measure and want it repealed, or at the very least, they want parts of it gone. In fact, half of the people who were polled say that the law makes the community less safe. 58% of these voters believe that Oregon is on the wrong track, whereas only 42% are of the mind that things are going well for the state.
This should not be a surprise to some, as the poll reinforces a report that came earlier this year stating that Oregon law enforcement officers found the law to be ineffective, and even harmful for public safety.
It shouldn’t take a detective to understand why Measure 110 was seen as so controversial. While most are in agreement that putting money into treatment programs and services is a good thing for tackling addiction, it’s the part where street drugs are decriminalized that puts people on edge. If you aren’t quite sure how this was made a law in the first place, you should know that those who advocated for Measure 110 believed it to be a new and effective approach to handling addiction; instead of cycling people in and out of jail, they would instead be driven towards treatment and other forms of help. If someone was cited for drug possession, they could either call a statewide hotline to get screened for substance abuse treatment, or they could pay a $100 fine. Of the 5,540 violations of drug possession that have been filed since February 1st, 2021, when the law went into effect, very few people have followed up with the hotline and most have outright ignored the request to pay the fine.
You should also know that this was just before fentanyl, the cheap and extremely addictive synthetic opioid, took Oregon, and the rest of the nation by storm. You could not have timed things worse.
As of now, a majority of state officials agree that the rollout of the measure was a mistake, or at the very least, significantly botched. The programs and services being funded are only now starting to appear around Oregon, but at this point, it might be too late for it seems that people are already waiting for it to finally be repealed.