Oregon Decriminalizes Drug Possession

Recorded on November 11, 2020.

Oregon has become the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize the possession and personal use of all drugs. Possession of drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine will no longer be punishable by jail time, but instead amount to something resembling a traffic ticket. Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN discussing what it means legally for the people of Oregon.

For more information, please contact us at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP to learn more, today!

Joe: 106.7 WIZN. It’s Pearl Jam, “Better Man,” heard Pat Benatar before that. Joe Vega taking you through your Wednesday Rocking Ride Home. And I’m joined now by Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Paul.

Paul: Joe, how are you?

Joe: I’m doing good. I’m doing good. So, I’m calling you today because of, you know, in the last election, one of the bigger stories was that Oregon, the state of Oregon became the first state to decriminalize small amounts of basically all drugs, and we’re talking heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, basically there’s gonna be no jail time if you’re caught with these drugs. If you’re caught in possession of these drugs, it’s gonna be something I guess similar to a traffic ticket, is that right?

Paul: Sure. It’s a hundred dollar fine, you know, so as you said, cocaine, heroin, oxycontin, meth, you know, all this stuff that all those shows are made up off, right?

Joe: Right.

Paul: Those are the big drug crime shows. Here’s the difference. What they’re taking into consideration is that the folks who have small amounts of this, who possess it, what they need is rehabilitation. So, they’re not saying, “Hey, guys, you know, in fact, we’re just gonna give you guys a green light.” You know, they gotta pay a hundred dollar fine.

We’re saying we’re not gonna put you in prison. And marijuana, of course, recreational is used out there and they’re gonna use that tax money to set up just different programs for these folks. But the people who are selling it, still criminalized, still go to jail. So, that’s the general theme of this new statute. But it certainly was a headline catcher.

Joe: Do you know what the federal government had to say about this? Because I remember when Colorado legalized marijuana, right, they were the first state to do that, and there was a “60 Minutes” news story that I saw where basically the federal government said, “No, we’re against it, but there’s nothing we can do about it.” Are they taking the same stance as far as you know?

Paul: They haven’t said officially, but you can imagine, right? So, now the federal government is gonna get someone who’s got just a little bit of cocaine on ’em and charge him federally. In theory they could, but I think it’s gonna the follow the path of marijuana. Yes, it’s still illegal under federal law, but we’re gonna let the states defer to this kind of thing.

You know, if they had come forth and said, well selling this is okay, I think the federal government would have come forth and said, “No, we’re gonna step in.” But, you know, one of the things, these psychedelics, the mushrooms, that also is now legal for therapeutic sessions, whatever those words mean. You don’t have a doctor next to your name to do therapy in Oregon, so these therapeutics are also back on the non-criminal list.

Joe: Wow.

Paul: Yeah.

Joe: So, LSD, is that?

Paul: Yeah, it is a psychedelic, I think it qualifies that they have it under the mushroom category. I need to brush up on my drug understanding, but I think…

Joe: Just watch “The Wire,” it’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Paul: I’m gonna go back about 13 years of Wire. Yeah, yeah, I gotta, right, just jump in anywhere and I could probably pick up on it within a few episodes.

Joe: All right, well thank you very much for that clarification. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Thanks for coming on, Paul.

Paul: All right, Joe, nice talking to you.

Joe: Remember, you can Paul or any of the lawyers at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti at any time at 1800-law-1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. Stay tuned, Mel Allen takes over. He’s got music from Pink Floyd and Cheap Trick next.