IN THE NEWS: State lawmakers strike deal to ensure drug possession remains a crime

By Jerry Cornfield | Washington State Standard | May 15, 2023

State lawmakers announced an agreement Monday to toughen the penalty for drug possession and expand pathways into treatment and away from jail for those arrested.

The deal comes hours before legislators convene a special session and, barring another setback, will erase the threat that possession of illicit drugs becomes legal in July.

Late Monday, legislative leaders were still confirming that they had enough support among their members to pass the measure. A vote could come as soon as Tuesday.

“I won’t call what we have done a Blake ‘fix’ but it is certainly an ‘improvement’ and I believe it will save lives and make our communities safer for everyone. If I didn’t believe that, I would not be voting for it,” Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro Woolley, said in a text. Wagoner was the lead negotiator for his caucus.

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