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The governor of Oregon signs a bill that recriminalises possessing specific drugs.

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Governor Tina Kotek of Oregon has declared her plan to enact new legislation that will reclassify the possession of some substances, such heroin and fentanyl, as misdemeanors in the state. About three years have passed since Oregon became the first state in the US to legalize the possession and use of all narcotics for personal use.

Both chambers of the state legislature supported House Bill 4002, which reverses parts of the 2020 ballot initiative Measure 110. Within the next 30 days, Governor Kotek is expected to sign the bill. The purpose of the measure is to create a compromise between treating addicts and making them responsible for their behavior.

The new rule allows criminals to choose drug treatment over jail time, with a maximum sentence of six months. On September 1, the penalties for possessing illegal drugs are expected to go into effect.

Following her proclamation of a fentanyl state of emergency in downtown Portland earlier this year, Governor Kotek decided to approve the law. Between 2019 and 2022, the number of opioid deaths in Oregon tripled, in part due to an increase in fentanyl-related mortality.

Measure 110 was passed in 2020 with the intention of decriminalizing a number of hard narcotics and expanding access to addiction treatment. However, some have accused the law of escalating the fentanyl epidemic and raising the number of overdose deaths in the state.

Proponents of HB4002 contend that recriminalization will disproportionately affect communities of color, while opponents see it as a step toward tackling the growing drug overdose and addiction crisis.

The enactment of HB4002 is perceived as a noteworthy departure from the national decriminalization movement, with consequences for upcoming discussions and endeavors concerning drug policy in Oregon and other regions.

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