Last week (June 17) marked the 50th anniversary of when President Nixon declared the War on Drugs. It was one of the most cataclysmic policy schemes to ever befall Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income communities.
Given what we know now—that the War on Drugs was solely created to fuck with Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income communities—and the overwhelming harm it has caused, it’s no surprise that public opinion is rapidly shifting in favor of treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one.
So what does that look like? It starts with decriminalizing all drugs.
The November 2020 election proved decriminalization was not only politically viable but also widely favored by voters as in Oregon. They passed Measure 110, an initiative to decriminalize all drug, by an astounding 18 points! A “yes” vote supported making personal non-commercial possession of a controlled substance no more than a Class E violation (max fine of $100 fine) and establishes a drug addiction treatment and recovery program funded in part by the state’s marijuana tax revenue and state prison savings.
And it’s not just Oregon voters who want to decriminalize drugs. A recent poll conducted by Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI) found that 66% of American voters support ending criminal penalties for drugs and replacing them with a health-centered approach!
Change is occurring on the east coast too. The Maine House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to decriminalize all drugs and it is now being considered by the State Senate.
Even Congress is taking note, with Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Cori Bush last week—on the 50th anniversary of the War on Drugs—introducing a federal bill to decriminalize all drugs and reinvest in health services.
What do you think? Is it time to decriminalize or even legalize drugs in America? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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