Speed Reads

2020 election

Oregon becomes 1st state to decriminalize drug possession as New Jersey, Arizona legalize marijuana

States across the U.S. are poised to take big steps toward legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana and other drugs.

Both New Jersey and Arizona are projected to approve ballot measures legalizing recreational marijuana, The New York Times and The Associated Press project. Meanwhile Oregon is expected to take a completely unprecedented step, decriminalizing the possession of some illegal drugs and establishing treatment to help people with drug addictions.

Several drug-related measures were on ballots across the country, and all those that would loosen drug restrictions seem to be winning as election night wears on. Arizona is projected to approve the legalization of recreational marijuana for people over 21, and to expunge marijuana offenses. New Jersey is projected to legalize the use and possession of recreational marijuana by those 21 and up. Meanwhile South Dakota is projected to overwhelmingly approve a measure to let people with "debilitating medical conditions" to posses 3 oz. of marijuana, per the Times.

In Oregon, voters have opted to decriminalize the possession of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, Oxycodone and methamphetamine, per Oregon Public Broadcasting. Possessing a small amount of those drugs would be redefined as a civil offense similar to a traffic violation. The measure would also fund treatment and harm-reduction efforts for those with drug addictions, paid for by a tax on marijuana.

Mississippi's proposal to legalize medical marijuana, Montana's measure to legalize recreational marijuana and set its legal age at 21, and South Dakota's proposal to legalize recreational marijuana are still uncertain, but early results point in their favor.