Seattle City Councilmember Herbold sets record straight after City Attorney’s false statement about drug legislation

SEATTLE – Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1 – West Seattle and South Park) released the following statement after Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison put out a false statement concerning legislation Davison authored that the Council rejected:  

“City Attorney Davison’s outrageous statement that ‘Seattle will now be the only municipality in the State of Washington where it is legal to use hard drugs in public,’ is an inexcusable mischaracterization of the law.

As a result of Governor Inslee’s special session, the legislature approved a bill that adopts a statewide standard of gross misdemeanor for both possession and public consumption. This means that there is now a clear, statewide standard, and there is not a patchwork of differing regulations across the state.  

This state law will be effective in Seattle on July 1. Nothing the Council does, or does not do, can affect that. The jurisdiction for District and Superior Court to address misdemeanor cases is specially authorized by RCW 2.08.010 and RCW 3.66.060. Authority for prosecutions will remain with the King County Prosecutor. The March 2023 filing standards that guide the King County Prosecutor’s Office decisions about prosecutions state that they can file certain behavior related to drugs as misdemeanors.    

The Washington State Bar Rules of Professional conduct says it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.” Like this letter from more than a hundred doctors calls for, we must – instead of peddling false claims – “enact smart, data-proven policy that will achieve our intended goals, not naive, reactive, and harmful policy that repeats the mistakes of the past.” 


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