Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocates for Drug Decriminalization in Oregon

On Monday, new Oregon Secretary of State records confirmed that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and his wife Priscilla Chan are throwing their weight behind an Oregon ballot initiative, Measure 110, that will allow voters in the 2020 general election to vote to decriminalize all crimes for possession of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and psychedelics.  The measure will also allocate marijuana tax revenues to fund addiction treatment centers.

The donation of $500,000, made through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s advocacy entity, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy, positioned the couple as the second-largest donors supporting the passage of Measure 110 and stands as one-third of all funding raised to further the cause. Other large contributors were the ACLU at $100,000 and the Drug Policy Alliance at $850,000. 

Measure 110 removes all criminal penalties for simple possession of any drug. Presently, the maximum penalty for simple possession of a drug in Oregon is up to one year confinement, unless prior criminal convictions exist, in which case, imprisonment can be extended up to 5 years, with or without a maximum fine of $125,000. If the voters approve Measure 110, the maximum punishment for drug possession goes from 5 years incarceration down to a Class E infraction with a required $100 fine and/or a completed health assessment. 

The measure also provides additional options for treating drug addiction, including adding drug treatment centers throughout the state, allocating funding to drug rehabilitation efforts from retail marijuana sales (around $80 million annually), and making all state-wide treatment programs for drug addiction free of charge to all Oregon residents. If implemented, the fiscal impact statement associated with Measure 110 also asserts that the state would gain an increase in revenue by over $36,000,000 per year. 

The full text of Measure 110 can be found here.