SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a first in the nation, Oregon has rejected charging drug users with criminal offenses, with voters passing a ballot measure that decriminalizes possession of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other hard drugs.
Decriminalized: Decriminalization = taking away CRIMINAL charges. In most countries, that term is tied to a criminal record. Instead, you can be fined, but it’s kind of like a parking ticket… Pay the fine and you’re done. Still not “legal” but no criminal charges, criminal record, trial, potential jail time, etc.
Legalization: a formerly illegal act is made legal via legislation. An example would be when Prohibition was repealed. Anyone can now engage in said act without fear of prosecution. Notably, however, legalization opens the floodgates of regulation; so now drugs are fully legal but to sell it you need a license and the weed has to be FDA compliant…etc.