Oregon County addresses budgetary deficit with decriminalization

October 12, 2010

(ChattahBox News) – While California often occupies the national spotlight when it comes to issues regarding decriminalization, Multnomah, the largest county in Oregon, has recently received attention over its ever-growing list of decriminalized activities.

Typically, decriminalization amounts to no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a minimal amount for personal use.  In the eyes of the District Attorney, it is akin to a minor traffic violation.In Multnomah County, those now found with small quantities of cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine are issued a ticket.  Small-time larceny, hit-and-runs, harassment, trespassing and second-degree theft and forgery, and interfering with public transportation or a police officer may require an arrest, but are now relegated to a lesser violation.

While decriminalization is often framed in ideological terms, in terms of citizens’ rights, in Multnomah County it is being enacted on purely pragmatic grounds.

Like many other municipalities across the nation, Multnomah is suffering a budgetary deficit.  The District Attorney has decided to trim these financial concerns by moving the lowering the line of decriminalized activities.  Even so, Multnomah police have been told to continue making arrests as they deem necessary.

RawStory source contributed to this story


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