Oregon decriminalized drug possession.

In November 2020, Oregon passed a voter-initiated ballot measure, Measure 110, becoming the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize the personal possession of drugs. Ballot Measure 110 became law in January 2021 under the title Drug Addiction Treatment Recovery Act (DATRA).

What did decriminalization mean in Oregon?

Under DATRA, personal drug possession is now a civil infraction with a $100 fine. The fine is waived if the person completes a screening to assess immediate care needs.

What were the goals of DATRA?

To adopt a health-centered approach to drug use by removing criminal penalties for personal drug possession and expanding access to screening, health assessment, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorders. Supporters argued this approach would begin to address community and individual-level harms of drug criminalization, and the chronic underfunding of services for people who use drugs in Oregon.

View the process

How are expanded treatment services funded?

Through a grant process designed by the Oversight and Accountability Council, a diverse community-led council. Grant funding to Behavioral Health Resource Networks comes from the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund. These funds are primarily allocated from taxes on marijuana held in the Oregon Marijuana Account.

What has implementing DATRA looked like in Oregon?

Implementing the Act has been a long and complicated process. Many state and local decisions, practices, and policies needed to be put in place, especially to fund expanded services for people who use drugs.

Events & Progress

Before DATRA

1973

2014

2017

2019

After DATRA

November 2020

January 2021

February 2021

June 2021

July 2021

November 2021

December 2021

May 2022

September 2022

Events & Progress

1973

Marijuana decriminalized in Oregon

Oregon has a history of pioneering drug policy as the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize marijuana, which laid the groundwork for progressive drug policies going forward.

2014

Retail marijuana legalized in Oregon

Oregon allows voters to modify statutes and the state constitution through citizen-led initiatives, which is how recent major shifts in drug policy, including cannabis legalization, occurred.

2017

Penalties for first-time drug possession offenses reduced from felony to misdemeanor

2019

Citizen Initiated Petition filed with Secretary of State to become Ballot Measure 110

November 3, 2020

Ballot Measure 110 passes with 58.5% of the vote (1.33 million votes) and becomes DATRA

January 2021

Marijuana Tax distribution formula is revised

$270 million redirected from previous recipients of the Oregon Marijuana Account to the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund, which finances Behavioral Health Resource Networks

Up to $11.25 million of marijuana state tax revenue will be annually distributed as follows:

 

February 2021

Oregon decriminalizes personal drug possession

First step of DATRA goes into effect

  • Personal possession becomes a new Class E violation with $100 fine; people ticketed can waive the fine following a phone or in-person screening for immediate care needs
  • 24/7/365 call center opens up to screen people and waive $100 fine
  • Oregon Health Authority creates the community-led Oversight and Accountability Council which is responsible for overseeing the new Behavioral Health Resource Networks and grants awarded from the Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund
June 2021

Access to Care Grants are awarded

$30 million dollars granted to 67 community (including 11 tribal) organizations

Access to Care Grants filled an interim need to fund direct services for people who use drugs in Oregon. These went to community organizations quickly while the funding process for Behavioral Health Resource Network grants went into place.

July 2021

Senate Bill 755C passes

Necessary supporting legislation passed to implement DATRA

November 2021

Oregon Health Authority solicits Behavioral Health Resource Network grant proposals

The Oversight and Accountability council designed the Request for Grant Proposals, hoping to encourage organizations that were not traditionally funded by Oregon Health Authority to apply.

December 2021

Behavioral Health Resource Network grant applications due

Organizations were expected to meet a tight deadline to ensure funding went out quickly to communities.

May 2022

First Behavioral Health Resource Network grants are awarded

Funding local organizations through DATRA took most of the implementation timeframe. Applications opened to organizations for one month, then took anywhere from 5 to 8 months to evaluate and initiate contracting.

September 2022

Behavioral Health Resource Network funding completed

$270 million dollars allocated to community organizations

With Access to Care grants, the Oversight and Accountability Council granted $302 million dollars to local organizations to support people who use drugs. 234 organizations were funded, forming 44 networks across Oregon.

The Research and Evaluation Team at Comagine Health evaluated the early implementation period of this major policy change from passage through the funding of local services.

Report Cover Image

About our work

The Research and Evaluation team at Comagine Health focuses on the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, controlled substance prescribing practices, harm reduction, and initiatives to promote community health and equity. We are working with expert consultants to explain and evaluate DATRA. We hope to provide information on implementation to states considering decriminalization.