Just one day after the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the state’s drug possession statute was unconstitutional, two State senators introduced Senate Bill 5468 , which would reinstate the law by adding the word “knowingly” to the statute.
The ruling in the case, State v. Blake, decriminalizes the possession of controlled substances, after justices found the statute was unconstitutional because it doesn’t require prosecutors to prove that someone knowingly or intentionally possessed the drugs.
Instead of using this opportunity to build evidence-based solutions for our state’s public health addiction crisis, Republican senators want to use this unconstitutional statute to continue punishing our community members, instead of helping them under the guise of increasing public safety.
If you think people who struggle with drug use need help, not empty moralization and prison time, join us in opposing SB 5468.
Here is a pre-written public comment that you can copy and paste onto the Washington Legislative website to let your senators know how you feel about this bill:
Go to this website, type in your name and information, click “oppose,” and then copy and paste this into the “comment” section. Feel free to use this wording as a boilerplate and add in your own opinions and thoughts, but remember comments must be under 1000 characters:
The State v. Blake ruling has given us an opportunity to create evidence-based drug policy that supports, rather than cruelly punishes, those addicted to harmful drugs. The fix proposed by SB 5468 is not only uninspired, it furthers the harms perpetrated disproportionately on communities of color, the poor, the young, and other vulnerable groups, by doubling-down on objectively debunked “war on drugs” logic—that locking someone up and depriving them of future work, housing, family and community support through a felony conviction will somehow magically heal them of the disease of drug addiction. Like our sister-state of Oregon, we now have an opportunity to be national leaders in building a new drug policy that is sane, compassionate, and medically sound. One that actually allows us to learn from the mistakes of the past 70 years of failed policy and taps into a treasure-trove of substance use disorder data generated during that time. Do not give in to fear. Vote “No” to 5468.
You can also contact your senator directly:
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege
212 John A. Cherberg Building
PO Box 40424
Olympia, WA 98504-0424