Sheriff: New WA Drug Laws Will Allow Youth to Possess Narcotics
The Kittitas County Sheriff (Ellensburg WA) has released a statement about what Washington state's new drug laws could (and will likely do) to youth and children.
Sheriff Clay Meyers' statement reminds citizens the Legislature passed Senate Bill SB 5476, which Gov. Inslee signed into law.
This reduces the crime for possession of hard drugs, such as heroin, meth, or crack, from a felony to a misdemeanor. But that's not all. According to Sheriff Meyers, this is what officers have to deal with when it comes to the new law:
"It also prohibits law enforcement from arresting anyone for possessing drugs on the first two offenses: a ‘three-strike’ rule for drugs. On the first two ‘strikes’, law enforcement must instead refer violators to voluntary treatment. In other words, we hand them a form, encourage them to get help, and send them on their way."
So, if a person is caught, they can 'skate' twice before anything can be done. Sheriff Meyers also mentioned what perhaps was an unintended consequence legislators didn't think about or consider when passing this law:
"The question: What should a deputy do for a 10 or 12-year old with an ounce of Heroin, Fentanyl, Meth or Cocaine? We have no authority under this law to take that child into custody to take them to resources or even to their home and family. We can’t even encourage the option of treatment as an alternative to detention until a child is caught with drugs for the third time. How many times will a kid use dangerous drugs before getting caught three times?"
Meyers also had this to say about the new law:
"Those who wrote and signed this law displayed little regard for our youth when they prohibited law enforcement from detaining and protecting a child who has no interest in drug treatment. This is the kind of unforeseen, unintended consequence that results from making laws without input from the people who enforce them."
To read more about his stance on this matter, click on the button below.
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