Plenty of eyebrows were raised and an equal number of jaws dropped last year when the state of Oregon passed Ballot Measure 110, which decriminalized the personal possession of hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and oxycodone.

I expect that we will be seeing a similar reaction from Illinoisans once they learn that the State of Illinois is currently working on doing nearly the same thing as Oregon did.

Oregon's voters passed Ballot Measure 110 on November 3rd of last year, and it went into effect on February 1st of this year. The measure reduced the penalty for a possession of controlled substance offense that is not classified as a commercial drug offense under current Oregon State law.

Now it's Illinois' turn, I guess.

According to a report published by MyStateline.com, Illinois House Bill 3447 "would make possession of up to 3 grams of heroin and fentanyl, and 5 grams of cocaine a misdemeanor instead of a felony." Assuming it passes (and I wouldn't be so quick to assume that yet) the Illinois Senate and is signed into law by the governor, the bill would also "retroactively expunge the records of people with felony charges for possession up to the proposed misdemeanor amounts."

Before you start to feel like we're about to become like Oregon, it's important to note that Oregon's Ballot Measure 110 goes a lot farther with decriminalization than the Illinois bill does. Illinois is looking at heroin, cocaine, meth, and oxycodone, while Oregon went a lot farther down the list. Here's a list of the drugs that make up Oregon's new law:

  • LSD
  • Psilocybin and Psilocin
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Heroin
  • MDMA/Ecstasy, MDA, MDEA/Eve
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine

Here in Illinois, House Bill 3447 passed along a slim margin garnering only Democrat votes and receiving no Republican votes.

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