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Seattle Police Statement on Recent Court Ruling for Drug Possession Arrests

The Seattle Police Department will follow the law and has already issued this directive, effective immediately.

This morning the Washington State Supreme Court ruled RCW 69.50.4013 unconstitutional.

RCW 69.50.4013, also known to as simple drug possession, is no longer an arrestable offense. It also cannot be used as a legal basis to seize an individual.

What does this mean for officers?

Effective immediately, officers will no longer detain nor arrest individuals under RCW 69.50.4013 alone.

Officers will no longer confiscate drugs from an individual based only on a violation of RCW 69.50.4013.

This ruling does not impact any other charges that may be evident to officers during an encounter.

This ruling also does not limit officers’ ability to conduct investigations involving other illegal drug activity. However, officers must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to investigate those other crimes, and those other crimes cannot rely nor be based upon RCW 69.50.4013 as the underlying crime.