Oregon Legislature Passes Bill to Defelonize Possession of Ecstasy, Heroin, Cocaine and Other Drugs

Legislation to defelonize the personal possession of several drugs has been passed through Oregon’s full legislature and sent to Governor Kate Brown for consideration.

The proposed law, House Bill 2355, “Reduces punishment for possession of certain controlled substances [including ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine] from felony to misdemeanor”. Possession would remain a felony if the defendant possesses a useable quantity of a controlled substance and one of four factors are in play: “1) The defendant has a prior felony conviction of any kind; 2) The defendant has two or more prior convictions for possessing a useable quantity of a controlled substance; 3) The offense is a commercial drug offense; or 4) The defendant possess more than specificed amount”.

The legislation also directs the Criminal Justice Commission to “study effect of reduction in possession penalties on criminal justice system, rates of recidivism and composition of convicted offenders”, and “Reduces maximum length of Class A misdemeanor offense to 364 days”, Under current law, possessing certain drugs can result in imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Read moreOregon Legislature Passes Bill to Defelonize Possession of Ecstasy, Heroin, Cocaine and Other Drugs

California Initiative to Defelonize Drug Possession Approved Handily by Voters

California voters have handily47 approved Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, passing it with 57% of the vote. The initiative will remove felony charges for the personal possession of illegal substances, reducing the offense to a misdemeanor.

The initiative, which won’t apply to those with a history of violent crimes, will also defelonize other nonviolent offenses such as petty theft and check fraud. The proposal was put forth by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and San Diego Police Chief William Landsdowne.

Read moreCalifornia Initiative to Defelonize Drug Possession Approved Handily by Voters