Drug Possession in Oregon May No Longer be a Felony
In August of 2017, Governor Kate Brown signed HB 2355 into law. House Bill 2355 will allow people caught with small amounts of drugs to face misdemeanor charges rather than the previous felony charge. The change is aimed at decreasing prison populations for small first time possessions convictions and renewing a focus on drug treatment rather than incarceration for people struggling with addiction and substance abuse. The punishment for the possession of small amounts of drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, and heroin will now be up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $6,250. This is a major shift where, under previous Oregon law, a felony possession charge would carry a sentence of 5 to 10 years, potentially.
Governor Brown had this to say about the change to the criminal code.
“Addressing disparities that too often fall along racial and socioeconomic lines should not be political issues,” Brown said in a July statement, after the bill was passed. “Here in Oregon, we’re demonstrating that we can making meaningful progress to improve the lives of Oregonians by working together around our shared values.”
Source: Drug Possession Is No Longer A Felony Offense In Oregon by: Nick Wing, Huffington Post 8/17/2017
While the issue of how to approach America’s relationship with drugs is still a hot button issue nationally Oregon has committed itself to enacting progressive changes to their criminal statutes that, supporters believe, will be financially responsible as well maintain the rights of its citizens with the aims of treating drug use in our communities with more compassion and less arbitrary punishment.
Even with these reasonable changes to the criminal code in Oregon, the best strategy when faced with any criminal charge, and particularly any charge involving prohibited substances, is to retain a qualified experienced defense attorney. If you are facing a criminal conviction, it is important to secure the counsel of a reputable Oregon criminal defense attorney. Call Kroll & Johnson today for your free, initial consultation.