Seattle considers implementing its own drug use law amid inaction by State Legislature

May 9, 2023
Written by WR Communications


Seattle is considering implementing its own drug use law as the state Legislature failed to replace an expiring statute. With the current stopgap law on drug possession set to expire on July 1, Gov. Jay Inslee is urging a special session to fill the policy gap. Seattle City Councilmembers Sara Nelson and Alex Pedersen and City Attorney Ann Davison propose making public drug use a simple misdemeanor to address the widespread use of fentanyl and meth in public spaces. They argue this is necessary to support businesses and improve public safety.

Local officials are disappointed with the state Legislature’s inaction and urge them to find a compromise before the law expires. The Downtown Seattle Association and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce both said they preferred that the state address drug use more broadly but would support the city bill if necessary. A potential city policy would focus on intervention in public use rather than just possession.


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