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April 23, 2021

Washington State House of Representatives
416 Sid Snyder Avenue Southwest
Olympia, Washington 9850

Sent Via Email Only

Re: Engrossed Senate Bill 5476 and Floor Amendment H-1627.2

Dear Madame Speaker, Minority Leader Wilcox, and Members of the House of Representatives,

We write to strongly urge you to oppose adoption of floor amendment H-1627.2 (762) and preserve the approach of ESB 5476 as amended in the House Appropriations Committee: first build and fund new pathways to recovery, then eliminate criminal penalties for drug use and substance use disorder. Amendment H-1627.2 proposes to return Washington to exactly the same failed and racist War on Drugs policies in place today: an unconstitutional law making possession of controlled substances a felony, and constitutionally suspect laws making possession of counterfeit substances a felony and possession of legend drugs a misdemeanor.

These laws have a well established record of disproportionate enforcement against Washington's Black and brown community members, inflicting generations of trauma and economic inequities. The Blake decision presented the Legislature an opportunity to do better. ESB 5476 as amended by the House Appropriations Committee reflects understanding of the history and science, and prioritization of the concerns of Washington families who have been damaged by the laws Amendment H-1627.2 would restore. Please reject this amendment and pass a version of ESB 5476 that puts Washington on a new and better path, with elimination of criminal penalties for drug use and substance use disorder.

Sincerely,

Treatment First Washington Steering Committee

Keith Blocker
Jan Bolerjack
Molly Carney
Karen Dove

Monisha Harrell
Les Liggins
Everett Maroon
Michelle Merriweather

Salvador Mungia
Carmen Pacheco-Jones
Kurtis Robinson
Julian Saucier

Chris Stearns
Ben Stuckart
Kim Thorburn
Bob Wood