Drug defelonization a solid step towards full decriminalization

We need only to look back at recent decades to show the fallacy of trying to arrest, jail and hamper drug users with collateral consequences as a mode to address drug dependency …  Defelonization is needed and a solid step forward but it is not the final destination when attempting to establish a public health approach to drug policy … A decriminalization policy … is how we begin to establish a true public health approach. In doing so those who are seeking treatment can receive it independent of the criminal justice system …

We need to establish a system where collateral consequences do not hamper those who are truly dependent and justice involved from receiving the benefits of reform. A system where arrests, adjudications and convictions are not the primary tools for a user to enter into treatment. And, what’s more difficult is addressing the reality that many drug possessors do not need treatment at all. Technically, Oregon has defelonized drug possession for those that qualify – mostly first and second time offenders. Defelonization means that drug possession penalties have been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. This definition is in contrast to the common and broad use of the term decriminalization, a term defined by Drug Policy Alliance in our most recent report as the full removal of criminal penalties for use and possession not just lowering penalties or defelonizing. 

Original Article (Drug Policy):
Drug Defelonization a Solid Step towards Full Decriminalization
Artwork Fair Use: Public Domain


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