New laws in Marysville prohibit public drug use, disruptions on buses

Dec 30, 2022, 4:30 AM | Updated: 5:06 am
(Photo courtesy of City of Marysville)
(Photo courtesy of City of Marysville)

The City of Marysville has implemented stricter laws on both public drug use and disruptions aboard buses.

“It’s certainly nothing like you would see in Seattle, but it’s also something that is different from what we’ve experienced in the past in the communities like ours,” said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring on The Dori Monson Show.

“But if you live in Marysville, and you drive about town over the course of a week, you will see these types of problems. It’s not something we want to see in our community. We certainly don’t want it to escalate beyond what it is now, and we’re not even comfortable with the level that we’re facing now. It’s a growing concern.”

City officials said they are responding to the rampant increase in public drug use following last year’s State v. Blake decision. The state Supreme Court decided back in February 2021 that Washington’s primary drug criminalization law was unconstitutional.

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According to the ACLU Washington “the new law criminalized ‘unknowing’ drug possession and people could be arrested and convicted even if they did not realize they had drugs in their possession. The Legislature’s police power goes far, but not that far.”

Some local government officials and law enforcement officers believe instances of public drug use have increased since the state Supreme Court decision.

“The situation is you have state regulations, you have state [laws] that cover public alcohol use, public marijuana use, [but] there’s no analogous state law for the use of other controlled substances,” Nehring said.

“So in the past, you were able to deal with this by, for people using fentanyl or meth in public, you would charge the person with possession. And that’s how it was dealt with, a Class C felony. With Blake, what happened is, realistically, that’s gone as an option.”

The first ordinance prohibits the use of controlled substances in public without a prescription. The second ordinance will further prohibit inappropriate behavior aboard transit, at park-and-ride lots, or at bus stops.

Violating these ordinances could lead to an arrest for a misdemeanor.

The two ordinances will now allow Marysville police officers to enforce existing state law through the municipal court instead of filing a case through the Snohomish County court system, according to a press release issued by the city.

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The Marysville Police Department linked a majority of property crimes to drug addiction earlier this year. Through the Law Enforcement Embedded Social Worker program, continue to help at-risk residents through the social service system to achieve sobriety and find affordable housing.

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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New laws in Marysville prohibit public drug use, disruptions on buses