Regardless of what the outcome of the 2020 presidential election is, about half of the voting population is going to be extremely disappointed. However, there is something that voters are in agreement about in 2020, and that is the legalization of drugs. Five states, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, And South Dakota voted to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Washington DC and 11 other states that had already legalized recreational cannabis.
However, it’s not just marijuana anymore, legalization of other drugs was on the ballot in some jurisdictions.
Oregon became the first state in the country to decriminalize possession of hard drugs including heroin, cocaine, and LSD.
Oregon made history Tuesday in the movement to reconsider the nation’s war on drugs by becoming the first state to decriminalize small amounts of heroin and other street drugs.https://t.co/ZCnPREQMG0 pic.twitter.com/udKSxOTVRu
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) November 4, 2020
Oregon’s new law reclassifies the low-level possession of illegal substances including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, methadone, and oxycodone from a misdemeanor to a non-criminal violation, punishable by either a $100 fine or a health assessment. The new law will go into effect on February 1st. An overwhelming majority of 59% voted in favor of the measure.
The measure gives the Oregon Health Authority the mandate “to set up all licensing, training, certification, and ongoing education requirements for psilocybin service centers and facilitators during a mandated two-year development process.”
Only license holders will be able to “provide psilocybin therapy, cultivate psilocybin, or own a psilocybin service center.”
Voters in Washington DC also voted to legalize numerous psychedelics, including psychedelic mushrooms and DMT.
WE DID IT! We are incredibly grateful for the support of each and every voter who helped us make history by creating the first legal psilocybin therapy program in the country. There are so many people to thank, read our full recap of this historic victory. https://t.co/uINSGXknHC pic.twitter.com/TFxDpaNBZp
— Healing Advocacy Fund (@voteyeson109) November 4, 2020
Many big investors have been expecting a wave of legalization for years, and have been silently setting up businesses to corner the market. One company, in particular, Compass Pathways, has been at the forefront of this research, as they have a huge advantage due to significant investments from people like Peter Theil, the co-founder of PayPal. Compass Pathways is currently conducting other studies to prove the safety and efficacy of the substance as a treatment for depression, and is said to be developing a patented treatment based on their findings.
Critics of legalization and decriminalization fear that drugs would be out of control and rates of addiction would skyrocket without prohibition, but modern examples show this is simply untrue. Currently, under the state of prohibition that most of the world experiences, the treatment, and assistance that addicts receive is severely limited and used mostly to punish via highly regulated inpatient and outpatient programs. In an environment of prohibition, the strategy is punishment instead of harm reduction, which is a more humane, realistic, and effective way of handling serious social problems like heroin addiction.
In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to end the drug war within its borders. In the short time since, the country has seen a radical improvement in their society. Drugs now have a smaller impact on Portugal’s society as a whole than they did prior to the end of prohibition. There are now fewer drug-related deaths, fewer children getting ahold of drugs, and fewer people doing drugs in general. Many other factors that are often overlooked including the fact that infectious diseases spread through needles and dirty drug practices have declined rapidly in Portugal since the end of drug prohibition. Also, there are far fewer conflicts with citizens and police than there once were and many prisons have even shut down because there is not enough crime.