WA Senate Passes Bill Modifying Drug Possesssion to Gross Misdemeanor
It took four rounds of voting, and numerous amendments added and removed but now the WA State Senate has passed a bill changing drug possession to a gross misdemeanror.
Bill, if it clears State House and becomes law, would replace expiring bill
The recent State Supreme Court Blake Decision that decriminalized drug possesssion (heroin, meth, crack, fentanyl etc) was modified in 2021, when the Senate passed a bill that would make possession a misdemeanor. However,that bill is set to expire, or sunset, later this summer.
After a contentious floor battle, according to The Center Square, the bill will basically accomplish making drug possession a gross misdemeanor which carries a stiffer penalty than simple, and it will also provide a pre-trial diversion program offering treatment.
A dizzying series of amendments were proposed but either rejected or withdrawn during the marathon battle. The voting was 28-21 in favor, with 14 Democrats and 14 Republicans voting in favor.
Several GOP members voted against the bill because of an amendement that was attached that would (according to it's language via The Center Square):
(require) "the court to sign an order of ineligibility to possess firearms if the required substance use disorder assessment filed with the court indicates the individual has a substance use disorder.”
The bill now moves on to the State House for further consideration.
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