MARYSVILLE, Wash. — The city of Marysville has come up with a new plan after Washington State Supreme Court struck down the state’s felony drug possession law.
Despite the state supreme court’s ruling, Marysville Police Department officers are out in full force again, looking for anyone using hard drugs.
“It’s a compassionate move on our part, to help (drug abusers) and get them into the treatment they need,” said Mark James, Marysville City Council Member.
In February, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Washington’s felony drug possession law was unconstitutional because it did not protect people who unknowingly carried drugs.
As a result, police departments across the state were left without a clear law to follow.
In Marysville, officers said drug users soon took notice.
“They’re flouting the fact that they can do it and (saying), ‘You can’t arrest me,’” James said. “That’s not the case in Marysville and shouldn’t be the case anywhere in the state.”
With that in mind, Marysville took matters into its own hands.
This week, the city of Marysville became the first community in the state to make it illegal to have drugs without a prescription.
“We can enact our own laws that don’t conflict with state laws, and we’re completely in our right to do that, and we should do that because it’s protecting our citizens,” James told KIRO 7, insisting that this is not a story about arrests but about getting help to people.
That’s because the City of Marysville has a drug referral program that helps to treat people arrested for drug possession.
Over the years, city leaders said the program has helped hundreds of people become clean and sober.
City council members unanimously passed Marysville’s new drug law March 8th, which took effect immediately.
The new law in Marysville has only been on the book a few days, but James said he already heard from other communities that they were considering similar legislation.
In Olympia, there is currently a bill in the state legislature to address Washington’s drug possession law.
Senate Bill 5468 would clarify that it’s illegal to knowingly possess controlled substances outside of valid prescriptions.
Recreational marijuana rules would stay the same.
The bill is currently in committee.