First Advisor

Brian Renauer

Date of Award

Summer 8-19-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice and University Honors


Criminology and Criminal Justice




Measure 110, Drug Decriminalization, Drug Reform, Comparative Study, Portugal, British Columbia




Oregon made history in 2020 when voters joined together to approve ballot measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, which decriminalized personal amounts of all illicit substances. This was done in a bid to begin treating the ongoing drug crisis as a public health issue as opposed to a criminal justice issue. While Oregon may be the first in the nation to make such a move, they are not the first government to experiment with decriminalizing 'hard drugs.' Some argue that Oregon’s model was based on Portugal's decriminalization effort and point to Portugal's success as a potential outcome for Oregon's policy shift. However, it seems irresponsible to expect the same results when Oregon’s policy is not very closely modeled after Portugal’s. This thesis seeks to present a comparison of Oregon’s decriminalization policy amid an international discussion of the decriminalization policies in British Columbia, Canada, where government officials have just passed a temporary experimental exemption of criminal punishment for certain substances, and Portugal, where decriminalization has been regarded a great success. While not intended to present any location's policy as ‘better’ than another, this thesis was crafted to present information on each location's decriminalization policy before providing commentary on how each policy compares and contrasts with the others. Through comparison, questions on whether Oregon's decriminalization policy can claim to be modeled after Portugal's or expect the same success arise. The author hopes to contribute to ongoing discussions regarding decriminalization and question the content and validity of current policy comparisons with future policy modeling in mind.

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