GOP Leaders Push Bills to Counter Court Drug Possession Ruling
In the wake of the shocking WA State Supreme Court decision to nullify the statutes making drug possession illegal, GOP House leaders have introduced five bills that would deal with the issue.
Although some legislative deadlines have passed, Rep. Gina Mosbrucker (14th District-Goldendale) says lawmakers must act now. She said:
“We're asking that it's a priority and we're also reminding everyone that if we are not safe, then nothing else matters.”
This is a matter of saving lives."
She and other GOP House leaders on the Public Safety Committee have proposed in the five bills measures that would increase behavioral health assistance for those with substance abuse issues, allow cities and counties to enact their own drug possession laws, help youth with substance abuse problems, and expand penalties and punishments for the manufacture, sale and distribution of hard drugs.
Their action is in response the State Supreme Court's decision to rule that drug possession criminal statutes are un-Constitutional. In other words, if you have narcotics or other drugs (not pot) in your car, pocket or elsewhere you can't be arrested just for possession. The ruling stems from a case where a woman was arrested for possession but claimed she didn't know she had the drugs and they were not hers.
A number of cities and counties, including Grant County, have already passed such ordinances making possession at least a misdemeanor, or in Grant County, a gross misdemeanor.
Mosbrucker and others say the Court's ruling is shocking, as it could nullify or affect cases going as far back as 50 years. It could also jeopardize future law enforcement anti drug sweeps, and could result in thousands of potentially dangerous criminals being released from prison.
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