Washington Supreme Court rules felony drug possession law unconstitutional

Wow. This is big news.

Washington State Supreme Court finds state’s felony drug possession law unconstitutional

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s felony drug possession law is unconstitutional.

Immediately following the ruling, Seattle Police announced they would no longer be arresting people for simple drug possession, and they won’t confiscate drugs under the statute. Other agencies quickly followed suit. […]

In its ruling released Thursday, the high court said the law serves to “criminalize innocent and passive possession” because it is a “strict liability” law, meaning prosecutors don’t need to prove intent.

The ruling strikes down RCW 69.50.4013 Section 1. Without that section, there is essentially no state law on simple drug possession. […]

“Attaching the harsh penalties of felony conviction, lengthy imprisonment, stigma, and the many collateral consequences that accompany every felony drug conviction to entirely innocent and passive conduct exceeds the legislature‚Äôs powers,” the ruling reads.

Now, this doesn’t stop the legislature from drafting a new possession law that meets the court’s standards, but for now, simple possession cannot be prosecuted under the felony law.

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