By Liz Organ
Local: Measure 110
In early 2021, Measure 110 went into effect after being passed by Oregon voters in a 2020 referendum. This ballot initiative decriminalized possession of small amounts of most hard drugs, reclassifying it from a misdemeanor to a lower-level violation. The measure also set up a “Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund” to create new addiction recovery centers. However, a coalition of political, civic, and business leaders is pushing for considerable changes to Measure 110, wishing to make minor drug possession once again a misdemeanor.
This group’s proposal also emphasizes getting people into treatment regardless of whether or not they want it, a change from Measure 110 which views treatment as voluntary. However, this group is not asking for a repeal of Measure 110. The proposal is calling for a “tiered approach” to “each person’s individual needs” which would include diversion programs, specialty courts, and the criminal justice system. A recent poll conducted by Emerson College Polling, which you can find on oregonlive.com, found that 56% of people surveyed thought that Measure 110 should be repealed completely and 64% thought that parts of it should be repealed.
National: Google Monopoly Trial
The nation’s first tech antitrust trial in over 20 years, U.S. et al v. Google, began on Tuesday, 9/12. This case accuses Google of illegally eliminating its competitors by paying billions of dollars each year to smartphone makers, including Apple and Samsung, to make Google the device’s default web browser. Google is arguing that these deals were not exclusive as consumers were free to alter the default settings on their devices.
While exclusive deals such as these are not illegal, they can violate antitrust laws if a company is so big and powerful it prevents rivals from entering the market and cannot prove that the positive effect on customers outweighs its “curb on industry competition.” If Google loses the case, U.S. et al is looking for an injunction barring Google from continuing these practices. This may take the form of the court breaking up the company and/or banning Google from making these exclusive deals. This case is expected to take about ten weeks and the judge would not be expected to rule until 2024.
International News: Morocco Earthquake
On Friday, September 8th, at around 11:11 pm local time, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the High Atlas mountain range, about 44 miles (72 kilometers) from the city of Marrakech, home to about 930,000 people. The Moroccan government has reported over 2,680 people dead and over 2,500 people injured, with approximately 300,000 people affected.
The Moroccan authorities are under pressure from their citizens to accept help from other countries. So far assistance from only four nations has been taken with others being declined. The country wishes to maintain control of the situation and hopes to avoid the potential chaos that could come with the logistics of accepting dozens of countries’ and organizations’ help. But some critics, such as activist Maati Mounjib, have said that this is the wrong response when help is so desperately needed, especially in remote areas.
Hossam Elsharkawi, the Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa for the International Red Cross, is reluctant to criticize the Moroccan authorities at such a difficult time but agrees with Mounjib’s assessment. “The local response has done a fantastic job to date but they are exhausted on the third day and they will need that additional help,” Mr. Elsharkawi said. If you would like to help, it is recommended that you donate to places such as The Food Bank of Morocco, Islamic Relief, and Doctors Without Borders. Please make sure to verify any charities asking for donations at websites like CharityWatch and Charity Navigator.