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Prosecutors adopt drug decriminalization measure early

KTVZ file

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt in Portland says he isn’t waiting until February to implement a policy that will decriminalize possession of all drugs in personal-use amounts.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports Schmidt’s office said Thursday it will immediately start treating drug possession cases exempt from prosecution under Measure 110 as a public health matter, rather than a criminal one. Oregonians passed the measure in November.

“Past punitive drug policies and laws resulted in over-policing of diverse communities, heavy reliance on correctional facilities and a failure to promote public safety and health,” Schmidt said in a statement. “It’s time to move beyond these failed practices, expand access to treatment and focus our limited law enforcement resources to target high-level, commercial drug offenses.”

The district attorney cited overwhelming support for Measure 110, with over 74% of Multnomah County voters approving it, as a reason for his early adoption.

Deschutes County DA John Hummel took similar action after last month's Measure 110 approval.

Schmidt was elected as a progressive district attorney by an overwhelming majority of Portlanders in May and took office this summer when outgoing District Attorney Rod Underhill retired early.

Schmidt faced criticism from some conservatives for a similarly sweeping policy change in August when he announced that he wouldn’t pursue criminal charges against protesters unless police demonstrated clear evidence they were committing violent crimes, rather than resisting arrest.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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The Associated Press


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