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Associated Press

Why a drug decriminalization crisis looms for Washington state lawmakers

After voting down a bill last month to keep drug possession illegal and boost services for people struggling with addiction, Washington lawmakers are entering a special legislative session to find a compromise before a temporary law keeping the possession of small amounts of drugs outlawed expires. If a new law is not passed, Washington would become the second state in the U.S., after Oregon, to decriminalize possession of personal-use amounts of drugs, even as widely available and cheap fentanyl worsens an opioid crisis defined by open drug use and soaring overdose deaths. The Washington Supreme Court in 2021 struck down a state law making drug possession a felony.