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January 26 2021: KOIN06 News Oregon – Trial & Error, Oregon Police Prep For New Drug Laws

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — Police, district attorneys and other criminal justice agencies have finished building a policy framework ahead of Oregon’s first-in-the-nation drug decriminalization measure that takes effect next week, but say there are still so many unknowns that implementation will largely be “trial and error.”

“I really have not seen anything that impacts my work as widely as this measure over the decades that I’ve been in law enforcement in Oregon,” Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris told KOIN 6 News. “Even marijuana legalization didn’t come close. This measure impacts so many different facets of the criminal justice system.”

Voters passed Measure 110 in November. It reclassifies personal drug possession to a Class E violation with a maximum $100 fine. People caught with user-amounts of drugs could get the fine waived by completing a health assessment, during which they could be connected with treatment, recovery and housing services — though there is no criminal penalty for failing to pay the fine. Those services would also be expanded under Measure 110 and funded with a large chunk of marijuana tax revenue.

It takes effect February 1, but the Multnomah County District Attorney adopted the measure in December. A spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau said officers have already switched to issuing citations instead of making arrests. Other agencies, though, are still working through the logistics.

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