Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have donated $500,000 to decriminalization of drugs efforts in Oregon.
The couple donated $500,000 to support a measure to decriminalize all drugs in Oregon, which would also enable drug abuse treatment for those who choose. The donation was made through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a nonprofit foundation run by Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to Yes On 110.
The bill known as Measure 110 would reduce the arrests of drug owners for misdemeanors and reduce the number of drug-related offenses by 91%. The campaign is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU) and the Oregon Drug Policy Alliance (ODPA.)
Measure 110, which is on the ballot, aims to change the narrative about drug use in the state and aims to be the first state that can cause an avalanche of similar policy decisions around drugs in the U.S.. Rather than treating drug users as criminals, the campaign's organizers believe that drug abuse should be treated as a public health issue. The war on drugs has created a culture of fear and fear of drugs and made it easy to be afraid of a drug user, "campaign manager Peter Zuckerman told Willamette Week.
The biggest obstacle is stigma, and the Facebook couple became the second-largest donor to the measure through a donation from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for Advocacy. Since it was put on the ballot, Drug Policy Action has raised $862,000 to help raise voter awareness of Measure 110 and educate those unfamiliar with why drugs are a public health issue.
If the law passes, those caught in drug possession with low levels of weight would no longer be prosecuted.
Specifically, Measure 110 would decriminalize heroin (one gram or less), cocaine (two grams or less), methamphetamine (two grams or less), MDMA (less than one gram or five pills), LSD (less than 40 user units), psilocybin (less than 12 grams), methadone (less than 40 user units) and oxycodone (less than 40 pills, tablets, or capsules).
Further, if that's not enough, the law would also channel a portion of legal cannabis tax revenue into services that address substance abuse, which would build helpful organizations not line the pockets of private prisons.
In addition, low-level possession of any controlled substance in Oregon would be ruled no more than a class E civil violation. The maximum penalty would be $100 fine, which would be waived for those who agree to be interviewed for treatment. Jail time would be completely non=existent.
The half-million-dollar donation from Chan Zuckerberg to Yes on 110 represents about one-third of the campaign’s funding to date. Other key contributors include the Drug Policy Alliance, which has given $850,000, and the ACLU of Oregon, which kicked in $100,000 last week.
The decriminalization initiative would reduce drug possession convictions as a misdemeanor to 91%, according to a press release from the Oregon Attorney General's Office. The offense would be passed to offenders who undergo drug treatment and rehabilitation programs.
“People with addiction need help, not punishment,” Yes on Measure 110 Campaign Manager Peter Zuckerman told Marijuana Moment. “We are excited so many people are stepping forward to help win a more humane, equitable, and effective approach to drug addiction in Oregon. Now’s our moment to stop ruining lives and start saving them.”