The nonprofit organization Sensible Washington – which is strategizing with the ACLU – has announced a new legislative effort to defelonize drug possession in the State of Washington.
Under current Washington State law, the possession of any controlled substance (or over 40 grams of cannabis) is an automatic felony. Under this new proposal – which advocates are currently securing legislative sponsors for, with State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon already signing on – these felony charges would be reduced to misdemeanors (carrying a maximum jail sentence of 90 days, rather than 5 years), a move which advocates believe will free up prison space, and ease some of the harms associated with the drug war.
In the press release – which was sent out today – Alison Holcomb of the ACLU states that their organization “supports the decriminalization of drug use”, and that they “look forward to working with Sensible and its allies to achieve this goal”, indicating that the collaboration could go beyond this specific piece of legislation, which isn’t quite decriminalization.
Advocates are currently in the process of obtaining support for the proposal, and plan to have the bill filed in the upcoming legislative session in January.