VIDEO: City Council committee passes public-drug-use law, with changes

6:04 PM: 1 hour and 13 minutes into that video, you’ll see the discussion that ended with the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee approving a much-amended version of the public-drug-use law. The vote was 4-1; the yes votes were Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, the two sponsors of the proposal, and Councilmembers Sara Nelson and Alex Pedersen; the lone no vote was Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. Final approval will be up to the full Council, likely at its meeting on September 26th. The basic intent of the bill was to bring city code into line with the new state law making public drug use a gross misdemeanor, but with qualifiers, primarily a declaration that Seattle’s preferred outcome is diversion to treatment and services, in some cases without arrest. One of the approved amendments, sponsored by Herbold and Mosqueda, spotlighted the need for continued funding for the diversion program LEAD to make that possible, though no actual funding was attached – that has to come in the budgeting process this fall. Another amendment that passed, sponsored by Pedersen, called for collecting data on the results of the new law between 2025 and 2030, and ensuring that the council would get updates. (You can see the various documents from the meeting by going here.)

9:54 PM: We asked City Attorney Ann Davison for comment at tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association gathering (full meeting report tomorrow). She didn’t have much to say other than she’s glad something is getting done.

21 Replies to "VIDEO: City Council committee passes public-drug-use law, with changes"

  • Derek September 12, 2023 (9:08 pm)

    God bless Mosqueda. The only one who sees this stupid law for what it is. More rights taken away.

    • Derp September 12, 2023 (9:44 pm)

      Just like drinking in public, drugs shouldn’t not be done. Nobodies rights are infringed on, just plan common sense. Why are you against this and trying to clean up the homeless. 

    • Tired WS Mom September 12, 2023 (11:44 pm)

      I hope you are joking 

  • flimflam September 12, 2023 (9:19 pm)

    I can’t believe we’re really at a point where public drug use as a crime is debatable. So sad and pathetic.

  • Kelp September 12, 2023 (9:53 pm)

    This city is beyond saving at this point. What a mess. 

  • Admiral-2009 September 12, 2023 (10:12 pm)

    Derek – wow.  You apparently are not a parent.  Allowing open air drug use is indefensible.  I for one do not want my 6 year old seeing this happening.  Enough already!

    • Derek September 12, 2023 (10:48 pm)

      Ban fentanyl on busses and stuff sure. But not smoking weed in parks.

      • Rhonda September 12, 2023 (11:06 pm)

        I don’t want people drinking booze or smoking weed in our parks (both are forbidden by the Parks Department, anyway). I don’t want to, literally, run into a group of high/drunk young men when I’m jogging at Lincoln Park at sunset by myself. The really sad part is that many will die from drug overdoses between now and the September 26th council vote. We need this law NOW, not in weeks.

        • K September 13, 2023 (8:31 am)

          Stay away from all commercial areas then, Rhonda. Plenty of people drinking and smoking. And be careful while you are running and you should be able to literally avoid collisions.

        • Brian September 13, 2023 (9:49 am)

          Nobody ever died from weed hth

  • Alki resident September 13, 2023 (12:59 am)

    Herbold and Lewis watered down the drug law so much it’s basically toothless. Read the editorial in the ST if you want more information. Status quo will remain. The “diversion” hasn’t worked. Two-yes two- people have completed it according to the ST. The rest skip out within 24 hours never to return. It’s a waste of taxpayer time and money. But they know this already. 

  • KD September 13, 2023 (4:05 am)

    Vote Mosqueda out of office. She needs to go.  This should be a slam dunk 5-0 in favor of passing this law

    • Jeff September 13, 2023 (10:35 am)

      Mosqueda is literally the best CC person we have. So no. 

    • Drew September 13, 2023 (5:12 pm)

      Appears she intends to fail upwards to the KC Council, unfortunately.

  • anonyme September 13, 2023 (5:52 am)

    Having a ban on public drug use with a law to back it up is a no-brainer – which helps explain why the council just doesn’t get it.  No brains.

  • Kyle September 13, 2023 (8:32 am)

    Thankful that something was passed

  • HC September 13, 2023 (10:38 am)

    For those trying to dunk on Teresa’s vote, please go educate yourself about the current situation and why she voted that way.  For clarification, this is already illegal. So IMO Teresa’s vote makes sense because we don’t need duplicative laws on the books. Just makes it that much harder to make adjustments down the road when (hopefully) more adequate and evidence based treatments and alternatives to incarceration become available. 

  • wetone September 13, 2023 (2:16 pm)

    Problem with Seattle is they don’t enforce the laws we have today so what good does it do to create more ?  Just another feel goody from council. Start enforcing and holding people accountable and I might feel different……..

  • Henry September 13, 2023 (3:39 pm)

    Could someone politely explain this to me? As a newcomer to Seattle I feel uninformed – despite reading.Thank you

  • Brian Ondich September 13, 2023 (8:15 pm)

    A healthy city is not run by activists.

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