Washington State Activists Announce 2022 Drug Decriminalization Ballot Campaign

MJ moment

A coalition of drug reform advocates in Washington State have announced they’ll seek to qualify a decriminalization measure for the state’s 2022 ballot, an attempt to build on modest reforms adopted by the state’s legislature during its most recent session. While a draft of the prospective measure has yet been released, the group behind the proposal said in an email to supporters on Tuesday that it’s currently refining its language, which will “be filed as a new initiative in January for the November 2022 ballot.” “At a minimum,” the group said, the initiative would make the following changes: Stop treating drug use as a crime and remove the fear of arrest as a barrier to engagement and recovery; Commit robust, long-term funding to a plan informed by the lived experiences of people harmed by the War on Drugs; and Emphasize public health approaches that focus on the social determinants of health and meet the needs of rural and urban communities across the state. Signature gathering to qualify the prospective ballot measure would begin in February if all goes according to plan. The group behind the measure, Commit to Change WA, was formerly known as Treatment First WA and in 2020 attempted to qualify a decriminalization measure for that year’s state ballot. That initiative would have made unlawful possession of any drug a civil infraction, referred people found with drugs to a services assessment, and funded a massive expansion of outreach and recovery programs. When the pandemic interrupted the signature gathering effort for that measure, organizers shifted their focus to the legislature. After months of delay, House Bill 1499, largely based on the earlier initiative, was introduced this past February but eventually died after clearing one House committee. The group said its name change reflects the fact that “it is past time to…

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Source : Washington State Activists Announce 2022 Drug Decriminalization Ballot Campaign

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