Measure 110 would drastically change how Oregon's justice system treats people caught with illegal substances for their personal use.
Critics, including former Governor John Kitzhaber (D), a former emergency room physician and the longest-serving governor in OR history, also urged voters to reject Measure 110 earlier this month in a blog post arguing that the measure would undermine the role of courts in getting people into drug treatment and would not guarantee much-needed treatment beds.
PSILOCYBIN, AKA MAGIC MUSHROOMSPsilocybin, a hallucinogen also known in its raw form as magic mushrooms, was approved by OR voters for therapeutic use for adults.
"Today's victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use", said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which baked the measure. These addiction centers and drug recovery programs will be funded by taxes on marijuana, which is legal in the state.
"This is such a big step in moving to a health-based approach instead of criminal punishment, and we're devoting significant new resources to help Oregonians who need it", Janie Gullickson, one of the chief petitioners for the measure, expressed to the outlet.
The push behind the decriminalization of drugs in OR came from the success of similar programs that have taken place in other countries, namely Portugal and Switzerland, where disciplinary drug laws have been reduced in favour of a more public health-oriented approach.
Decriminalization of drug possession in the US would put the country on par with other nations including the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Uruguay, Portugal, and Switzerland.
Another five states legalized marijuana this week. Drug deaths fell while the number of people treated for drug addiction in the country rose 20 per cent from 2001 to 2008 and then stabilised, Portuguese officials have said.
It received 59% yes votes and 41% no votes, with roughly 1.9 million votes counted, according to unofficial partial results from the secretary of state.
"Measure 110 is arguably the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date".
"Two dozen district attorneys said the measure "...recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most risky types of drugs (and) will lead to an increase in acceptability of unsafe drugs".
Several other states are following suit.
Meanwhile, voters in the U.S. capital, Washington DC, and in the states of Arizona and New Jersey have backed measures to decriminalise marijuana and some psychedelic drugs.
MS and Montana also voted to approve similar measures. South Dakota on Tuesday voted to authorize both recreational and medical marijuana.