Life Issues / Family Ethics Political Action Committee of Southwest Washington

2022 Initiative for Drug Decriminalization
Illicit drugs are dangerous and their use threatens the freedoms of others. Society should not, and a republic must not sanction them as "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams
  Pro Campaign Website State Info

PDC Reports,  Pro Campaign Materials Oregon Live 4/15/22, USSA News 4/30/22, FPIW 3/5/21,

Oregon’s pioneering drug decriminalization hasn’t led many to seek help, as backers said it would
The effort ‘was presented to the public as pro-treatment, but it has been a complete failure in that regard,’ says Keith Humphreys, a Stanford addiction researcher and former White House drug policy adviser.
AP, Apr 5, 2022

SALEM, Ore. — When Oregon voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 to decriminalize hard drugs, they were told the first-in-the-nation effort would also be a way to establish and fund addiction recovery centers to offer those who are addicted help rather than incarceration.
But in the first year since the pioneering effort to decriminalize drugs took effect in February 2021, only 1% of those who were ticketed — rather than arrested — for possessing controlled substances asked for help via the state’s new hotline.
Some have criticized the approach as too lenient. Others say the new system has had a positive impact by redirecting millions of dollars to facilities to help people with drug dependency issues. The money comes from taxes on Oregon’s legal marijuana industry and savings from lower costs for jail and probation supervision resulting from not arresting people for possession of small amounts of drugs.


Misdemeanor Decriminalization (Journal Article Free Download)
Alexandra Natapoff, Vanderbilt Law Review, May 2015

As the United States reconsiders its stance on mass incarceration, misdemeanor decriminalization has emerged as an increasingly popular reform. Seen as a potential cure for crowded jails and an overburdened defense bar, many states are eliminating jail time for minor offenses such as marijuana possession and driving violations, replacing those crimes with so-called "nonjailable" or "fine-only" offenses. This form of reclassification is widely perceived as a way of saving millions of state dollars-nonjailable offenses do not trigger the right to counsel-while easing the punitive impact on defendants, and it has strong support from progressives and conservatives alike. But decriminalization has a little-known dark side. Unlike full legalization, decriminalization preserves many of the punitive features and collateral consequences of the criminal misdemeanor experience, even as it strips defendants of counsel and other procedural protections. It actually expands the reach of the criminal apparatus by making it easier-both logistically and normatively-to impose fines and supervision on an ever- widening population, a population that ironically often ends up incarcerated anyway when they cannot afford fines or comply with supervisory conditions. The turn to fine-only offenses and supervision, moreover, has distributive implications. It captures poor, underemployed, drug-dependent, and otherwise disadvantaged defendants for whom fines and supervision are especially burdensome, while permitting well-resourced offenders to exit the process quickly and relatively unscathed. Finally, as courts turn increasingly to fines and fees to fund their own operations, decriminalization threatens to become a kind of regressive tax, turning the poorest populations into funding fodder for the judiciary and other government budgets. In sum, while decriminalization appears to offer relief from the punitive legacy of overcriminalization and mass incarceration, upon closer inspection it turns out to be a highly conflicted regulatory strategy that preserves and even strengthens some of the most problematic aspects of the massive U.S. penal system.


Decriminalization of Drug Use
Current Opinion in Psychiatry (, Jul 2018

"Studies reporting on the positive outcomes of decriminalization remain scarce. The evidence needs to be more widespread in order to support the case for decriminalization."


The San Francisco Mess Proves Decriminalizing Drugs Doesn’t Work
The Federalist, Jan 21, 2020

President Donald Trump has expressed willingness to interfere in the West Coast’s seemingly intractable “homelessness” problem: “Donald Trump said he might ‘intercede’ to ‘clean up’ homelessness in San Francisco and Los Angeles, noting that world leaders ‘can’t be looking at that.’”

“That,” our noxious streets, certainly are a shame, only some of us have forgotten how to feel shame — or compassion. The “homelessness”crisis, which is really the opioid crisis dressed up in class warfare language, is manufactured. It was created, to a large extent, by the local judiciary, but also abetted by state laws and executive inaction.

A casual look at the city might leave one with the impression that the war on drugs has failed, with the decrepit people wondering the streets of San Francisco in a various states of delirium with large patches of skin falling off of them can be taken for a proof. On that assumption, of the failure of the war on drugs, outgoing District Attorney George Gascon traveled to Portugal to take a look at how the Mediterranean nation successfully decriminalized all drugs. Gascon wants to replicate the Portuguese experience here.