Oregon County Prosecutor Stops Drug Possession Cases Early Following Decriminalization Vote

MJ moment

Prosecutors in an Oregon county will no longer pursue low-level drug possession cases. The move comes weeks after voters approved a historic initiative decriminalizing all drugs—but also months before it’s due to formally take effect statewide. In a letter sent to police chiefs on Monday, the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office said that while it opposes the policy change, officials recognize the will of voters and feel that “having officers investigate and submit cases for a prosecution in the weeks leading up to February 1, which will not lead to any sanction or court supervised treatment, is not the most effective use of criminal justice resources.” Under the initiative, which passed with 58 percent of the vote, simple drug possession will be treated as a Class E infraction, punishable by a maximum fine of $100 and no jail time. That fine can be waived if an individual shows a court they have completed a substance misuse assessment. The measure also calls for investments in substance misuse treatment, using tax revenue from legal marijuana sales. “While we fundamentally disagree with this measure, ceasing to prosecute these matters prior to February 1 is consistent with the will of the voters, which we must respect,” the district attorney’s office said in the email, first reported by Kind Leaf Journal, adding that “misdemeanor [possession of a controlled substance] is still unlawful” until the effective date. “The decision of our office is not intended not divest local law enforcement officers the ability to conduct lawful investigations, searches and arrests,” the letter states. “Good communication about this significant change is paramount.” This early discretionary reform action is consistent with how several counties in the state approached cannabis policy after Oregon voters approved an adult-use marijuana legalization initiative in 2014. “It’s a smart decision to stop arresting…

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Source : Oregon County Prosecutor Stops Drug Possession Cases Early Following Decriminalization Vote

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