Drug Possession Is Officially A Crime Again In Washington, But As A Misdemeanor Instead Of Felony

MJ moment

Nearly four months after the state Supreme Court struck down Washington’s felony drug possession law as unconstitutional, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed legislation on Thursday to recriminalize simple possession, this time as a misdemeanor. The governor did partially veto one section, however. The new law, which takes effect immediately, reestablishes criminal penalties but requires that individuals be referred to a health evaluation and possible treatment for their first two violations, allowing them to avoid arrest and a criminal record. It also earmarks nearly $100 million for drug use disorder treatment, outreach and recovery services across the state. At a signing ceremony Thursday, Inslee called the legislation “a much more appropriate and successful way to address the needs that underlie drug abuse.” “This legislation will help reduce the disparate impact of the previous drug possession statute on people of color,” he said. “It moves the system from responding to possession as a felony to focusing on the behavioral health response.” Watch Inslee’s signing of Washington’s new drug law, about 18:00 into the video below: !(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”:”2021051111″,”simple”:true});}); One new program will establish a statewide “recovery navigator” program, designed to connect people with drug use disorder with “continual, rapid, and widespread access to a continuum of care.” Other investments expand outreach programs to unhoused people and provide funding to expand opioid use disorder medications in jails. After two years, on July 1, 2023, the new law’s criminal penalty provisions will evaporate under the bill as passed by lawmakers, again leaving the state without a law against drug possession. The behavioral health services established by the new law, however, will stay in place. The expiration date is meant to bring lawmakers back to the table to renegotiate a path forward after experimenting with the new approach. Rep. Roger Goodman (D), who introduced the idea…

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Source : Drug Possession Is Officially A Crime Again In Washington, But As A Misdemeanor Instead Of Felony

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