A proposal to defelonize the personal possession of illegal substances in Washington State has officially received a hearing date in its first assigned committee, the House Public Safety Committee. The hearing will take place next Tuesday, January 14th.
Under the proposed law - House Bill 2116 - the possession of an illegal substance, when there’s no intent to distribute the substance, will be reduced from a felony charge with a potential 5 year prison sentence, to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 90 days. This would apply to cannabis, given that the possession of anything over 40 grams is a felony, despite the possession of up to 28 grams being legal – under this new law, the possession of any amount of cannabis for personal use would no longer be a felony.
The measure is sponsored by State Representative Sherry Appleton, and was formulated by the nonprofit organization Sensible Washington. Other official sponsors of the proposal include Deputy Speaker of the House Jim Moeller and Deputy Majority Whips Joe Fitzgibbon and Jessyn Farrell.
The organizations Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, have officially endorsed the measure.