Bonney Lake passes ordinance in response to WA Supreme Court drug possession law

Mar 17, 2021, 3:21 PM
Decriminalize drugs, addiction, drug possession, supreme court...
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Numerous cities across Washington, like Bonney Lake, are adjusting after the announcement from the state Supreme Court that felony drug possession law is unconstitutional, and that it puts the burden on the individual to prove they didn’t knowingly have a drug or illicit substance on their person or property.

Bonney Lake Deputy Mayor Justin Evans joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss why they passed an ordinance to help maintain the city’s safety.

“Our legal department, they’re on top of things. The administration got ahead of this as soon as the announcement was made, and five days later we passed ordinance D 21-38, and that was effectively putting in the knowing possession rule that the Legislature needs to correct now in their RCWs (Revised Code of Washington),” Evans said.

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“It means we effectively took what the Blake ruling showed as the exception or the rule, and we put that into our RCW,” he explained. “So knowing or having known possession of drug paraphernalia is now against the ordinance in our city.”

From a police perspective, that means Bonney Lake police can actually make arrests.

“Yeah, the charge is a misdemeanor charge, … it is effectively giving them something to charge against now. They can charge against the Bonney Lake Municipal Code, since the RCW has not yet been corrected by the state,” Evans said.

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Evans says the passing this ordinance was to maintain a means for prosecution, and maintain the level of safety that residents of Bonney Lake have come to expect.

“Our whole point of it doing it as a city is that it’s a safety issue. The drug paraphernalia — we’ve got needles in parks, glass pipes in parks. This isn’t just a Bonney Lake issue. Luckily, Bonney Lake is a really nice, clean town, we do have some incidents here and there, but for the most part we’re a pretty top notch city and we want to keep it that way,” Evans said.

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“We want to make sure that all of that stuff isn’t happening,” he added. “And if it is, there’s a means of prosecution for it. Drug addiction is a serious, serious thing. We want to make sure that people that are getting charged with this are able to get the help that they need, and just always being let go and not being prosecuted — there’s instances where that comes back and they end up doing more harm to themselves. … So we’re trying to make sure that we keep our city clean, and also make sure that people that are accountable for this actually get the help.”

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Bonney Lake passes ordinance in response to WA Supreme Court drug possession law