Together with Washington State lawmakers weighing their options after a court ruling that struck down the state’s law criminalizing drug possession, laws favored by reform-minded lawmakers obtained its first committee hearing on Monday.Senate Bill 5476 is just one of nine measures introduced in response to the state Supreme Court’s February decision, State v. Blake, and is widely regarded as one of the more likely of their bills to make it across the end line ahead of the legislative session ends on April 25. When passed, it would represent a change away from the antipsychotic medication war and supporting a public health approach to substance use. Adults found with anything under those amounts–adopted from neighboring Oregon’s voter-passed decriminalization legislation –could be known to evaluation and treatment but might see no criminal or civil penalties. Introduction or utilizing controlled substances in people would be subject to a $125 civil good, which could greatly help defray administrative costs caused by the state’s abrupt decriminalization.The bill would negate criminal fees, but for activity outside the carveout for possession. Adults with more than the private use amounts would be subject to a Class C felony, while possession by anybody under 21 would be a gross misdemeanor.The Senate Ways and Means Committee took nearly an hour of initial testimony on Monday however, as proposed, didn’t vote on the bill. Further action hasn’t yet been scheduled. Within hours following the ruling, police departments across the state announced they’d immediately halt arrests for drug possession. Prosecutors, too, began preparing to fall ongoing cases and file orders vacating past convictions. Courts and the state Department of Corrections are currently scrambling to address the consequences.”There were just two questions” in the aftermath of the decision, Dhingra told that the committee. “One was,’Can the country need to behave?’ Overwhelmingly the response was yes. And the second one has been,’What if the response be? ”’There’s not as much a consensus about the second question so far. Even though more innovative lawmakers see the ruling as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the state’s approach to substance use disorders and mental health, much more centrist and conservative folks have balked at the concept of eliminating all penalties for medication, that they say is tantamount to legalization.A range of rival proposals have also been introduced. Some, such as SB 5468, SB 5475 and HB 1560, would more or not return the state’s possession law to how it had been prior to the Blake decision, adding a provision that would require that a defendant”knowingly” have the drug. A similar bill, SB 5471, would also incorporate a $3,000 civil alright for anybody”unknowingly” in possession. Still another, HB 1561, would reinstate felony charges and boost sentences for possession.Some Republican-backed bills provide alternate strategies to the consequences of the court choice. HB 1562 would permit local governments to recriminalize drug possession, while HB 1558 would finance law enforcement training applications around substance treatment illness. HB 1559 would enable police officers to arrest minors for substance possession and refer them to cure.Marijuana Moment is already monitoring more than 900 cannabis, psychedelics and drug coverage statements in state legislatures and Congress annually. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month access our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar in order that they don’t overlook any advancements. — Dhingra described SB 5476 to Marijuana Moment as a compromise bill intended”to get the votes required.” She said she had been conscious of criticisms by several reform advocates, such as the offender complaint for minors in possession of controlled substances, but noted that one of her coworkers,”I think a great deal of individuals draw the line on children.”She said that the felony-level fee for possession of more than the private use amount would make sure that control of possession cases is managed by district lawyers instead of less-experienced criminal prosecutors in the municipal level. The Class C felony designation,” she added, would produce the charge one of the lowest settlement for prosecutors. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said lawmakers must utilize the Blake choice to”rethink and replace previous drug possession laws with more effective addiction and treatment choices,” while just 35 percent favored creating a technical change to come back to the past system.Almost 3 in 4 voters (73% ) said the state’s approach to problematic drug use has been a collapse. Just 9 percent predicted it a victory, although 18 percent were unsure.Even though members of the Ways and Means Committee made few remarks about the bill through Monday’s hearing, people who spoke at public comment included prosecutors and public defenders, local authorities urges, advocacy groups and people in treatment for substance use disorder, among others.Russell Brown, executive director of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (WAPA), told the panel that the team supports many of the bill’s provisions, such as penalties for juvenile use and establishing a felony for adult possession of more than private use amounts.But prosecutors remain divided on the issue of decriminalization, he said. “There’s surely a split within WAPA about the greatest question of whether private use or whether we use another instrument, such as a mandatory diversion to treatment or some graduated penalty.”Greg Banks, Island County prosecuting lawyer, was skeptical. “I am one of numerous prosecutors that aren’t opposed to decriminalizing private use levels for adults as part of a detailed strategy,” he said. He contended the Blake decision didn’t do away with different elements of the state’s drug laws–just possession.”[A drug] has to be in something–that is drug paraphernalia,” that remains illegal, Jefferson mentioned. “You can not give it away–that is a shipping. And you can not have it with purpose to send –that is a felony. So these laws will hurt individuals. We don’t need them.”Others, however, such as Lisa Daugaard, a founding staff lawyer in the Public Defender Association, cautioned that if the nation does not pass SB 5476 or some comparable state-level law concerning possession,”most local authorities will pass on their own ordinances criminalizing drug possession, and there is persuasive legal analysis that they legally could do this.”Many drug reform advocates were broadly supportive of the bill but it needed to provide additional support to individuals in need, such as by investing in expanded drug therapy outreach and retrieval services.”The war on drugs has particularly hurt Black, brown and Native communities,” said Sybill Hyppolite, legislative director for the Washington State Labor Council. “This bill provides a minimum statewide standard of security against this punishment. This is an important measure, and we know more is required to reverse the war on drugs, to build an actual method of care.”Before this semester, lawmakers considered a distinct bill, HB 1499, that would have decriminalized simple possession and reinvested in broader treatment and recovery services. That measure also would have established a professional panel to establish personal use amounts. Rep. Lauren Davis (D), the lead author of the bill, said the Blake choice has called into question that the criminalization of drug usage,”but that has taken all the air from the space about how do we really serve these people.””Should you neglect to treat the underlying substance use disorder, there’ll not be a reduction in recidivism,” she told Marijuana Moment in an interview. “How do we create a person-centered paradigm of care, and, significantly, how do we finance it?””Honestly, the only means that you are going to have the more advanced caucus, particularly of the House, to vote for recriminalize,” she added,”is if you are likely to create the structure for and genuinely fund that diversion mechanism.””This moment calls for a more pragmatic, statewide approach to following steps,” the team wrote. “Why is this instant hard isn’t that we lack an understanding of the harm done by past policy, or proof to support better policy, but that we are breaking new ground, and we want action in a really brief window of time.”Read the new Washington drug decriminalization poll below:
Cops Can’t Arrest You For Smoking Marijuana About Sidewalks, NYPD Says In Post-Legalization Memo
Marijuana Moment is created with assistance from readers. Should you rely upon our cannabis advocacy journalism to remain informed, please think about a monthly Patreon pledge.

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Senate Bill 5476 is just one of nine measures introduced in response to the state Supreme Court’s February decision, State v. Blake, and is widely regarded as one of the more likely of their bills to make it across the end line ahead of the legislative session ends on April 25. When passed, it could represent a change away from the drug war and toward a public health approach to substance use.

Adults found with anything under those amounts–adopted from neighboring Oregon’s voter-passed decriminalization legislation –could be known to evaluation and treatment but might see no criminal or civil penalties. Introduction or utilizing controlled substances in people would be subject to a $125 civil good, which could greatly help defray administrative costs caused by the state’s abrupt decriminalization.

The bill would negate criminal fees, but for activity outside the carveout for possession. Adults with more than the private use amounts would be subject to a Class C felony, while possession by anybody under 21 would be a gross misdemeanor.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee took nearly an hour of initial testimony on Monday however, as proposed, didn’t vote on the bill. Further action hasn’t yet been scheduled.

Within hours following the ruling, police departments across the state announced they’d immediately halt arrests for drug possession. Prosecutors, too, began preparing to fall ongoing cases and file orders vacating past convictions. Courts and the state Department of Corrections are currently scrambling to address the consequences.

“There were just two questions” in the aftermath of the decision, Dhingra told the committee. “One was,’Can the country need to behave?’ Overwhelmingly the response was yes. And the second one has been,’What if the response be? ”’

There’s not as much a consensus about the second question so far. Even though more innovative lawmakers see the ruling as an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the state’s approach to substance use disorders and mental health, much more centrist and conservative folks have balked at the concept of eliminating all penalties for medication, that they say is conducive to legalization.

A range of rival proposals have also been introduced. Some, such as SB 5468, SB 5475 and HB 1560, would more or not return the state’s possession law to how it had been prior to the Blake decision, adding a provision that would require that a defendant”knowingly” have the drug. A similar bill, SB 5471, would also incorporate a $3,000 civil alright for anybody”unknowingly” in possession. Still another, HB 1561, would reinstate felony charges and boost sentences for possession.

Some Republican-backed bills provide alternate strategies to the consequences of the court choice. HB 1562 would permit local governments to recriminalize drug possession, while HB 1558 would finance law enforcement training applications around substance treatment illness. HB 1559 would enable police officers to arrest minors for substance possession and refer them to cure.


Marijuana Moment is already monitoring more than 900 cannabis, psychedelics and drug coverage statements in state legislatures and Congress annually. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month access our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar in order that they don’t overlook any developments.


Learn more about our bud bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon for access.

Dhingra described SB 5476 to Marijuana Moment as a compromise bill intended”to get the votes required.” She said she had been conscious of criticisms by several reform advocates, such as the offender complaint for minors in possession of controlled substances, but noted that one of her coworkers,”I think a great deal of individuals draw the line on children.”

She said that the felony-level fee for possession of more than the private use amount would make sure that control of possession cases is managed by district lawyers instead of less-experienced criminal prosecutors in the municipal level. The Class C felony designation,” she added, would produce the charge one of the lowest settlement for prosecutors.

Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said lawmakers should utilize the Blake choice to”reconsider and replace previous drug possession laws with much more successful addiction and treatment choices,” while just 35 percent favored creating a technical change to come back to the past system.

Almost 3 in 4 voters (73% ) said the state’s approach to problematic drug use has been a collapse. Just 9 percent predicted it a victory, although 18 percent were unsure.

Even though members of the Ways and Means Committee made few remarks about the bill through Monday’s hearing, people who spoke at public comment included prosecutors and public defenders, local authorities urges, advocacy groups and people in treatment for substance use disorder, among others.

Russell Brown, executive director of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (WAPA), told the panel that the team supports many of the bill’s provisions, such as penalties for juvenile use and establishing a felony for adult possession of more than private use amounts.

But prosecutors remain divided on the issue of decriminalization, he said. “There’s surely a split within WAPA about the greatest issue of whether private usage or whether we use another tool, such as a necessary diversion to treatment or some graduated penalty.”

Greg Banks, Island County prosecuting lawyer, was skeptical. “I am one of numerous prosecutors that aren’t opposed to decriminalizing private use levels for adults as part of a detailed strategy,” he said.

He contended the Blake decision didn’t do away with different elements of the state’s drug laws–just possession.

“[A drug] has to be in something–that is drug paraphernalia,” that remains illegal, Jefferson mentioned. “You can not give it away–that is a shipping. And you can not have it with purpose to send –that is a felony. So these laws will hurt individuals. We don’t need them.”

Others, however, such as Lisa Daugaard, a founding staff lawyer in the Public Defender Association, cautioned that if the nation does not pass SB 5476 or some comparable state-level law concerning possession,”most local authorities will pass on their own ordinances criminalizing drug possession, and there is persuasive legal analysis that they legally could do this.”

Many drug reform advocates were broadly supportive of the bill but it needed to provide additional support to individuals in need, such as by investing in expanded drug therapy outreach and retrieval services.

“The war on drugs has particularly hurt Black, brown and Native communities,” said Sybill Hyppolite, legislative director for the Washington State Labor Council. “This bill provides a minimum statewide standard of security against this punishment. This is an important measure, and we know more is required to reverse the war on drugs, to build an actual system of maintenance .”

Before this semester, lawmakers considered a distinct bill, HB 1499, that would have decriminalized simple possession and reinvested in broader treatment and recovery services. That measure also would have established a professional panel to establish personal use amounts.

Rep. Lauren Davis (D), the lead author of the bill, said the Blake choice has called into question that the criminalization of drug usage,”but that has taken all the air from the space about how do we really serve these people.”

“Should you neglect to treat the underlying substance use disorder, there’ll not be a reduction in recidivism,” she told Marijuana Moment in an interview. “How do we create a person-centered paradigm of care, also more importantly, how do we finance it?”

“Honestly, the only means that you are going to have the more advanced caucus, particularly of the House, to vote for recriminalize,” she added,”is if you are likely to create the structure for and genuinely fund that diversion mechanism.”

“This moment calls for a more pragmatic, statewide approach to following steps,” the team wrote. “Why is this instant hard isn’t that we lack an understanding of the harm done by past coverage, or proof to support better policy, but that we are breaking new ground, and we want action in a really brief window of time.”

Read the new Washington drug decriminalization poll below:

Cops Can’t Arrest You For Smoking Marijuana About Sidewalks, NYPD Says In Post-Legalization Memo

Marijuana Moment is created with support from readers. Should you rely upon our cannabis advocacy journalism to remain informed, please think about a monthly Patreon pledge.

Source: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/biden-is-too-busy-to-decriminalize-marijuana-harris-says/

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