About This Event

Early in 2021, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the state’s felony drug possession law was unconstitutional, leaving the state without criminal penalties for drug possession. With limited time to act during an ongoing legislative session, we passed ESB 5476, a bi-partisan bill that made possession of small amounts of drugs a misdemeanor and attempted to divert people to services for at least the first two occasions they were found possessing drugs. This bill was a temporary law that will expire in July 2023.

The Legislature got it right by taking a public health approach to drug possession, but ESB 5476 is not working as well as hoped and changes are needed, both to improve the law and because the current law sunsets soon.

Join a panel of experts for a community meeting to explore how Washington can best navigate the intersection of substance abuse disorder and the criminal justice system.

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