Washington Lawmakers Hear Drug Decrim Bill After Supreme Court Strikes Down Prohibition

MJ moment

With Washington State lawmakers weighing their options after a court ruling that struck down the state’s law criminalizing drug possession, legislation favored by reform-minded lawmakers received its first committee hearing on Monday. Senate Bill 5476 is one of at least nine measures introduced in response to the state Supreme Court’s February decision, State v. Blake, and is widely seen as among the more likely of the bills to make it across the finish line before the legislative session ends on April 25. If passed, it would represent a shift away from the punitive drug war and toward a public health approach to substance use. Possession of small, “personal use” amounts of controlled substances by adults 21 and older would remain decriminalized under the bill. Adults found with anything under those amounts—adopted from neighboring Oregon’s voter-passed decriminalization law—could be referred to evaluation and treatment but would see no criminal or civil penalties. Opening or using controlled substances in public would be subject to a $125 civil fine, which would help defray administrative costs resulting from the state’s abrupt decriminalization. !(function(src,cb){var s=document.createElement(‘script’);s.src=src;s.async=true;if(s.readyState){s.onreadystatechange=function(){if(s.readyState==”loaded”||s.readyState==”complete”){s.onreadystatechange=null;cb();}};}else{s.onload=function(){cb();};}document.head.appendChild(s);})(‘//player.invintus.com/app.js’,function(){Invintus.launch({“clientID”:”9375922947″,”eventID”:”2021041087″,”simple”:true});}); The bill would reinstate criminal charges, however, for activity outside the carveout for simple possession. Adults with more than the personal use amounts would be subject to a Class C felony, while possession by anyone under 21 would be a gross misdemeanor. The Senate Ways and Means Committee took nearly an hour of initial testimony on Monday but, as planned, did not vote on the bill. Further action has not yet been scheduled. Sen. Manka Dhingra (D), the proposal’s sponsor, said at the hearing that both the timing and the outcome of the Blake decision were unexpected. Within hours after the ruling, police departments across the state announced they would immediately halt arrests for drug possession. Prosecutors, too, began preparing…

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Source : Washington Lawmakers Hear Drug Decrim Bill After Supreme Court Strikes Down Prohibition

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