The City of Aberdeen took a preemptive step towards a localized “Blake Fix” to hedge against the possibility that state legislators cannot.
Following the 2021 State v. Blake decision by the Washington State Supreme Court, the state’s felony drug possession law was ruled unconstitutional and legislators have an impending deadline to make a fix.
Legislators had put a temporary fix that expires July 1, 2023. After that, with no state statute in effect it would make possession of Schedule narcotics within Washington no longer unlawful.
During the legislative session, lawmakers were unable to make a compromise to adjust state law related to drug possession.
Legislators are scheduled to return to Olympia for a Special Session to address the issue, but if negotiations between the parties cannot come up with a fix, it would be on the backs of local cities and counties to put their own rules in place.
On Wednesday, the City of Aberdeen took the first reading of an ordinance to create a local fix, and Police Chief Dale Green said that this was just in case.
The local ordinance would update local municipal code to make possession and use of legend drugs a gross misdemeanor within the city.
Someone who violates the law would face up to 364 days in jail or a $5,000 fine, or both. The local prosecutor would be encouraged to divert drug cases for “assessment, treatment or other services”
A public hearing on the local fix is planned for the next Aberdeen City Council meeting.