In February, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize the possession of hard drugs. Now, Maine may be following suit.
As Maine continues to experience high death tolls from the opioid epidemic, legislators are debating a new approach.
LD 967, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Anne Perry of Calais, allows individuals in possession of a small amount of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine to only be fined and referred to an addiction recovery program.
The sale of illegal drugs would still remain illegal.
Perry states her hope is that more people could receive treatment through an addiction recovery program, which would result in longer, lasting change. Despite Perry’s confidence, law enforcement is concerned that the bill would make it more difficult to enforce trafficking laws.
Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington state are also considering decriminalizing drug possession.
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