In 1970, the Federal Government enacted the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), which made certain drugs and substances illegal absent a medical prescription. The control of drugs through the CSA exists to prevent harm to the public. Nonetheless, some cities and states have enacted laws that allow for the benefit of selling or pleasure of using illegal drugs to outweigh the legal ramifications.

In November 2020, The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, also known as Oregon Ballot Measure 110 (Measure 110), made Oregon the first state in the country to decriminalize all drugs. Measure 110 was enacted with the overarching goal to reduce addiction rates and help fight the war on drugs. However, what principles rationalize this heightened degree of decriminalization as a course to lowering addiction rates and combating the war on drugs?

This Note provides historic background information on controlled substances, Measure 110, and the laws surrounding controlled substances. It also includes recent news reports, warning letters written prior to the enactment of Measure 110, and a comparison of foreign drug legislation to that of Oregon. While this Note does not discuss the use of psychedelics in therapy, it does include discussion on the implications that have come to pass and are still to come since Measure 110’s enactment, including (1) the effects it has on addicts and relapse concerns; (2) how Brazil and Portugal’s decriminalization laws differ; (3) how it violates public health policy; (4) the increase it will have on crime rates; and (5) its negative impact on juveniles. Finally, this Note discusses alternative measures Oregon could take to assist addicts in the recovery process, incentivize them to stay clean, and lower incarceration rates.