More than one million people are arrested annually for drug possession across the United States. People charged with and convicted of criminal drug offenses can face devastating collateral consequences, including eviction, unemployment, loss of the right to vote, and deportation. Research shows that criminalization of drug possession contributes to the marginalization of people with substance use disorders, results in stark racial disparities, and costs billions of dollars. Given these harmful and disproportionate impacts, advocates and communities have long campaigned for the decriminalization of drug possession.
Since Oregon voters approved Measure 110 in November 2020, decriminalization efforts have gained momentum. Oregon’s measure reclassified personal possession of all controlled substances from a criminal to a civil violation and allocated funding for community-based organizations to provide substance use treatment and harm reduction services, and it became a model for other decriminalization efforts nationwide.
This cross-sectional dataset provides an overview of state laws that decriminalize personal possession of controlled substances as of July 1, 2023. It does not include laws that decriminalize possession of only a few specific substances (e.g., laws that decriminalize marijuana only or psychedelic substances only). As of July 1, 2023, Oregon is the only state to have decriminalized drug possession.
These data were created with support from the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE).