SB 5536 – Blake/Drug Possession (Special Session)Bill brief
Public Safety, Law Enforcement & Courts
In February 2021, the state Supreme Court ruled in State v. Blake that Washington’s felony drug possession statute was unconstitutional because it criminalized possession even when a person did not knowingly have drugs. Two months after the Blake decision, Senate Bill 5476 was passed. The measure reduced the criminal penalty for possessing an illegal drug like fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine from a felony to a misdemeanor. This provision expires on July 1, 2023. There will be no criminal penalty in state law for possession of drugs unless the Legislature acts. In the absence of a state law, local jurisdictions could adopt local ordinances.