Seattle City Council on verge of passing drug possession law
September 19, 2023
Due to public pressure and one councilmember’s commitment to halting the city’s tragic drug crisis, the Seattle City Council is on the verge of finally passing a drug possession law that will allow the prosecution of those who possess and/or public use such lethal drugs as heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. A vote could happen as soon as their hearing Sept. 19, at 2 pm.
Yet we have seen things suddenly reverse in the council chambers before, so it is important for us to keep up the public pressure on the council members to pass a proposed commonsense ordinance.
The Downtown Seattle Association has set up tools to make it easy for you to make your voice heard:
Last May, during a one-day special session of the Washington State Legislature, state lawmakers passed a “fix” of the Washington State’s Supreme Court’s 2021 Blake decision. The legislation allowed local jurisdictions to prosecute once again those who possess illegal drugs.
Despite nearly four people a day dying from drug overdoses in the county, new King County Prosecutor Leesa Manion stated that her office would not prosecute individuals who violated the new state law. This left it up to the cities in King County to pass their own ordinance in order to prosecute violators of the state’s drug possession law.
In June, At-Large Seattle City Councilmember Sara Nelson introduced a bill to allow Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison to prosecute those who possessed or publicly used illegal drugs. On the day when the council was to vote on the measure, progressive extremists packed the council’s small chamber to oppose the proposal. This resulted in the measure failing by a 5-4 vote.
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, sensing the public’s outrage of the council again failing to address the city’s drug crisis, convened a work group of city employees and liberal special interest groups to devise a new drug possession law. This process resulted in a proposal that the Seattle Times and others believed was confusing, and councilmembers had introduced amendments to the measure which would further restrict police officers’ ability to arrest those possessing and using illegal lethal drugs.
The council’s Public Safety & Human Services Committee took up the measure (CB 120645) last Tuesday. Councilmember Sara Nelson, seeking to remove confusion, proposed amendments that clarified most of the previous concerns and the committee passed the new version by a 4 to 1 vote. The amended version of the bill is supported by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Downton Seattle Association, and the leadership of the Seattle Police Officers Guild.
At today’s hearing, we can expect to see progressive extremists fill the council chamber to protest any law that restricts drug possession.
Previously we have seen members of the Seattle City Council cave into these demands. This has resulted in ordinances which caused a severely depleted police force and skyrocketing violent crimes, especially in lower income and minority neighborhoods.
It is important for citizens’ voices to drown out the radical chants of the few extremists who fill the small council chambers.
Please contact Seattle City Councilmembers to let them know you support the current version of the drug possession ordinance. Council members need to hear from residents who are fed up with the number of senseless deaths and drug-related crimes. It is time to bring back common sense to tackle the city’s destructive drug crisis.