The War on Drugs has failed. We have a chance right now to take a smarter approach in Oregon, by passing HB 2355, to defelonize small-scale drug possession.
Oregon is ready. An overwhelming majority of Oregon voters, from all across the state, of all political parties and backgrounds, support reducing drug sentences. The bill also has support from the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police. They know that law enforcement need to spend their resources on where they’re needed most, protecting our communities.
We need your help to build the momentum for a smarter approach to drugs in Oregon. 18 states have already defelonized small scale possession of drugs. Oregon should be a leader on this issue but we are lagging behind and people’s lives are getting damaged by our inaction.
Why do we need HB 2355?
Harsh drug sentences have damaged families and ruined lives. A felony conviction for small-scale drug possession, can prevent people from getting housing, a job or a student loan.The current approach is also unfair. People of color possess drugs at the same rates as everyone else but are more much likely to be arrested.
Furthermore, the War on Drugs has cost billions of taxpayer dollars. At a time when Oregon has a $1.7 billion deficit, we need to spend our limited law enforcement resources as wisely as possible. Arresting and prosecuting people for small-scale drug cases as felonies is the wrong priority.
We can’t afford to keep continuing with the status quo and punishing people with a felony for small-scale drug possession. We need a system that is more fair and just. And we need to be smarter. That means doing what's most effective — better access to treatment, education and rehabilitation, not harsher punishments.
Together we can do this! Now is time to reduce drug sentences. Thousands of lives are at stake, and this is our chance to improve our state and make a difference. Please join us in winning a better criminal justice system.