New Washington state law makes drug possession a misdemeanor

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure overhauling the state’s approach to drug possession, after the Washington Supreme Court struck down its previous law as unconstitutional. The new law makes simple drug possession a misdemeanor for now, but that provision expires in two years. It also aims to greatly expand access to treatment and outreach services. The court’s decision came in the case of Shannon Blake, who had received a pair of jeans from a friend that had a small bag of methamphetamine in a pocket. A 5-4 majority said the state’s drug possession law was unconstitutional because it did not require prosecutors to prove a defendant knowingly possessed drugs.