Oregon’s petition to decriminalize drugs and create recovery services

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(Photo of Calvin Keane/Jack Peeples/The Broadside)

Two state initiative petitions have been created in Oregon for people who are seeking health care.  Measure 34 allows the use of psilocybin, a therapeutic psychoactive mushroom that relieve those suffering from depression or anxiety. Another measure, measure 44, would impose a two-year development period before the drug would be sold and used by those who are licensed. Measure 44 allows for people who possess certain drugs to attend recovery and addiction services instead of being charged with criminal penalties. Measure 44 would reduce the criminal penalty to a $100 fine or a simple health assessment.

“We don’t want to be criminalized for drugs that help people,” says Petition Circulator Calvin Keane.

Keane is located around downtown Bend trying to get enough signatures for both measures to appear on the November ballot. At the moment, psilocybin is illegal in the state of Oregon and the high classification of penalties for drugs are still in effect. However, if Keane manages to get 4,000 signatures on measure 34 and 2,300 signatures on measure 44, it is likely that both of these measures could be voted into action this November.

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“People should get the help they need and not be charged for it,” says Keane, “people should be given a chance to heal themselves with less concern about the criminal consequences and more concern about their mental health.”

Keane is determined to do whatever it takes to help the state. Even if that means legalizing psilocybin and creating more places to recover. It would be much different from daily pharmaceuticals that have other side effects.

According to the Initiative Petition 34 website (yesonip34.org), “psilocybin therapy reduced depression and anxiety with cancer patients with 80 percent of patients, with few side effects.”

The Oregon Health Authority would regulate a Psilocybin Services Program to ensure patients receive the required care. If the Oregon Health Authority can do this, then patients may be able to increase their mental health outside typical clinical services.

The other ballot measure, measure 44, is not necessarily in support of drugs, but rather increases the leniency towards punishment of drug use through additional recovery and addiction services.

“8,900 Oregonians are arrested for drugs every year–or the equivalent of about one arrest every hour,” states the Initiative Petition 44 Website (yesonip44.org).

The people behind measure 44 believe that the police shouldn’t just focus on drug possessions but rather what they consider more pressing issues such as missing children or unsolved murders.

(Jack Peeples/The Broadside)

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