The Nationwide Trend is to Decriminalize Drug Possession

Comment: Now we need to find CURES for addiction, tax these drugs and use money for infrastructure and get outta foreign nations.

Washington Supreme Court declares felony drug possession laws unconstitutional

Tuesday, March 02, 2021 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: drugsfelonypossessionrapistsSupreme Courtunconstitutionalviolent criminalsWar on DrugsWashington
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Image: Washington Supreme Court declares felony drug possession laws unconstitutional

(Natural News) Joining ranks with Oregon, the state of Washington has nullified a drug possession statute that made it a felony to possess controlled substances – meaning simple drug possession in Washington can no longer be criminally prosecuted.

The Washington Supreme Court decided that RCW 69.50.4013, which tacks up to five years of prison time plus hefty fines onto convicted drug possessors, is unconstitutional because there is no way to prove that those caught in possession of illegal drugs knew that the drugs were on their person.

“This case presents an issue of first impression for this court: Does this strict liability drug possession statute with these substantial penalties for such innocent, passive conduct exceed the legislature’s police power?” the ruling asks.

“The due process clauses of the state and federal constitutions, along with controlling decisions of this court and the United States Supreme Court, compel us to conclude that the answer is yes – this exceeds the State’s police power.”

Those in support of the ruling say it will prevent militarized police forces from further arresting and charging people for merely having on their persons substances that the government says people should not be allowed to possess.

On the other hand, conservatives like Jason Rantz, a talk show host based out of Seattle, disagrees. To him, this ruling means that violent felons “like child rapists” could be released early from prison if their sentences were tied to drug possession charges.

“Consequently, police departments across the state, including in Seattle and Tacoma, will no longer arrest individuals for simple drug possession,” Rantz laments.

Is the War on Drugs ever really justified?

Part of Rantz’s argument makes sense to this writer in that drug possession charges are often used to catch actual criminals who commit real crimes like assault, rape, or murder.

“Charges of simple possession aren’t always just about simple possession,” Rantz explains. “It’s a way to get dangerous criminals off the streets via an easily provable offense.”

For better or for worse, drugs are an “in” for cops to nab a suspect in the event that witnesses fail to testify. Drugs being “illegal” also serves as “direct evidence,” Rantz says, “tying the suspect to the crime.”

It is the opinion of this writer that police officers simply need to do a better job, or be more willing to do their job, of conducting investigations into real criminal activity.

Sure, nabbing someone for “illegal” drugs is easy, and it could lead to catching real criminals. But what about non-violent offenders who, were it not for the War on Drugs, would be considered innocent?

Possessing and using drugs, no matter how much conservatives dislike the idea, is not a real crime. Prior to the 20th century, there was no such thing as a drug law and the world spun on just fine.

Only in the last 100 years did governments decided to criminalize not just the use of what they refer to as drugs, but also possession of such. This has led to many non-violent offenders being locked away unjustly, setting their lives on a crash-course to failure due to rap sheets that follow them around for life.

In many ways, “left” states like Oregon and Washington have the right idea trying to stop the criminalization of mere possession of substances, many of which exist as a matter of nature. Think “magic” mushrooms and peyote, rather than heroine and processed cocaine.

There are still areas of the country where cannabis remains “illegal,” even though it has been proven time and time again to help people. If possession laws remain, then what will become of the sick who live in such areas and become “criminals” the moment they are caught?

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Sources for this article include:

Oregon decriminalizes heroin and cocaine, as four other states legalize recreational marijuana

Nov. 4, 2020 at 3:28 am Updated Nov. 4, 2020 at 5:12 am

A truck drives past a sign supporting a ballot measure that would legalize controlled, therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms last month in Salem, Ore.  (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)
A truck drives past a sign supporting a ballot measure that would legalize controlled, therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms last month in Salem, Ore. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

Skip AdBy Jaclyn PeiserThe Washington Post

Oregon voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a measure to decriminalize the possession of street drugs, becoming the first state to embrace a plan billed as a way to drastically narrow drug arrests.

The result was one of many noteworthy wins for advocates seeking to change drug laws. Oregon also legalized psychedelic mushrooms, which were decriminalized in Washington D.C. as well. New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota each voted to legalize recreational marijuana, joining 11 other states, plus D.C., which have already done so, and Mississippi legalized it for medical use.

The passage of Oregon’s Measure 110 means the state’s residents will no longer face arrests or prison sentences for carrying small amounts of drugs like cocaine, heroin, oxycontin and methamphetamine. The measure, which passed by almost 60%, also lays out a groundwork for addicts to receive treatment as opposed to jail time.

“This is the most significant reform in our nation’s failed drug policies in a generation,” said Kassandra Frederique, the executive director of Drug Policy Alliance, which spent more than $4 million backing the measure. “It’s particularly significant because most people don’t realize that drug possession is the number one arrest in the country.”

Marijuana advocates, meanwhile, said that they hope the wide support for legalization seen on Tuesday will put pressure on Congress to change federal marijuana laws.

“It comes down to fact that marijuana prohibition has been an abject failure,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “If you’re not going to punish people harshly for marijuana then you might as well legalize it to control it and regulate and use revenue for important public services.”

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