Good news for city and county leaders in the state of Washington after the Washington State Legislature approved a new bipartisan agreement that makes it a gross misdemeanor to knowingly possess or use hard drugs in a public place.

ONE STATE LAW INSTEAD OF A PATCHWORK OF LAWS

That means cities and counties won't have to implement their own laws which state officials say would have created a patchwork of different laws around the state.
Lawmakers had to act fast. Had they not acted, hard drug possession would become legal July 1st.

LAWMAKERS WERE CLOSE TO AN AGREEMENT DURING THE REGULAR SESSION

A previous attempt by lawmakers failed on the House floor just hours before the regular session adjourned April 23rd.  Now under the new law first and second-time offenders could face up to 180 days in jail and a one-thousand-dollar fine. The law also gives prosecutors more flexibility to get drug addicts into treatment instead of jail time. The bill drew strong bipartisan support with Governor Jay Inslee wasting no time to sign the bill into law.

ONE STATE SENATOR SAYS THE LAW ISN'T TOUGH ENOUGH

However a state Senator says the hard drug-possession bill passed by the Legislature in a special session isn’t strong enough to deal with the state’s drug crisis. Spokane Valley Republican State Senator Mike Padden says the punishment under the new illegal drug possession law  is basically a hybrid between a gross misdemeanor and a misdemeanor - not an effective deterrent for offenders.  Padden says the punishment under the new illegal drug possession law  is basically a hybrid between a gross misdemeanor and a misdemeanor - not an effective deterrent for offenders.

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