A foundation run by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan has made a donation in support of a ballot measure to decriminalize all drugs in Oregon. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy donated $500,000 in support of Measure 110, a ballot measure “designed to establish a more humane and effective approach to drugs.” On top of that, the measure would use a portion of existing legal marijuana tax revenue to pay for expanded substance misuse treatment services, establishing addiction recovery centers throughout the state.
According to supporters of Measure 110, it is part of an effort to stop seeing drug misuse and addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue. Also called the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, the measure has been endorsed by more than 50 organizations including ACLU Oregon, United Seniors of Oregon, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Oregon State Council For Retired Citizens, the Confederated Tribes of the Brande Ronde, Human Rights Watch and Drug Policy Action. It has also been backed by two currently serving district attorneys as well as two former U.S. attorneys.
If the measure is approved, low-level possession would be considered a civil infraction punishable by a maximum of $100 fine and no jail time. The $500,000 contribution from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy is the second-largest donation, after the $850,000 donated by the Drug Policy Alliance’s political arm Drug Policy Action. ACLU Oregon also made a donation of $100,000.
The campaign has also received more than 400 individual donations. The median donation amount is around $50, with more than 83% of the contributions being made by Oregonians. “People with addiction need help, not punishment, and we are excited so many people are stepping forward to help win a more humane, equitable, and effective approach to drug addiction in Oregon,” says Peter Zuckerman, Yes on Measure 110’s campaign manager.
In the fiscal year 2018, there were 8,903 simple drug possession arrests, averaging at more than one arrest every hour, according to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. “Oregon law enforcement needs to stop making these kinds of arrests, targeting our communities and ruining our lives by giving us criminal records,” says Kayse Jama, executive director of Unite Oregon, which endorsed the measure.
“The need for this measure is more urgent right now more than ever because jails and prisons have turned into contagion hotspots during the pandemic.”
The support that the campaign in Oregon is receiving is likely to be putting a smile on the faces of cannabis companies like Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD).
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