Two proposals have been introduced this week to address the issue of drug possession in Washington state, which has been in question since the state’s drug possession statute was deemed unconstitutional in 2021. In the State v. Blake case, the Supreme Court ruled that the statute criminalized possession even when a person did not knowingly have drugs. As a result, the legislature had to determine if possession of illicit drugs should still be considered a crime. A temporary solution was implemented, making it illegal to “knowingly” possess controlled substances and treating possession as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. But before being charged, a person must be referred to treatment twice. This arrangement is set to expire this summer.

Would proposal SB 5035 fix Washington’s drug problem or make it worse? For more information, Lars speaks with Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, who is the Ranking ranking member of Washington state’s Senate Law and Justice Committee.