While possession of drugs like cocaine or heroin is currently illegal in Oregon, this could change in November. The state is considering a ballot initiative that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead of prison time, offenders would receive a $100 citation. The ballot would also provide more funding for rehabilitation facilities.
If the ballot passes, Oregon will be the first state in the United States to decriminalize drug possession. In most states, a drug possession charge can come with serious penalties like years of jail time. However, this ballot aims to help people suffering from addiction rather than punish them.
Studies have shown that hefty fines and lengthy jail time do little to help people suffering from addiction. In fact, people who are imprisoned for drug charges face higher rates of suicide, unemployment, overdose and other issues. While some people have claimed that the ballot would increase rates of crime and drug use, proponents of the ballot believe that drug use would actually drop if drugs were decriminalized.
Recent polls have shown that the majority of Americans believe that the justice system should focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment. A large percentage of Americans also believe that the justice system needs a general overall.
If an individual feels that they were not given a fair trial regarding their drug charge, they may be able to appeal the conviction with the help of a criminal defense lawyer. An unfair trial might involve illegally gathered evidence, a judge who wasn’t impartial or a hearing that didn’t let the client tell their full story. A lawyer may assess whether their client’s rights were violated during the trial. By working with a lawyer, the client might be able to salvage their reputation and get the case overturned.