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Lynnwood to address drug enforcement measures on July 24

LYNNWOOD, Wash., July 11, 2023—The Lynnwood City Council will act on drug enforcement measures during their next business meeting on July 24, according to Council President Shannon Sessions.

During the council’s July 7 business meeting, Sessions gave an update on the council’s plans regarding the Blake decision and the city’s drug ordinance passed back in February. Sessions commented that the timing revolves around the legislation’s fix to the Blake decision — SB 5536 — and its effective date of August 15. 

“Since that vote has been taken… it’s dependent now on our police department to adjust, kind of combine, the new legislation along with our dangerous drug ordinance,” Sessions said during the meeting.

The council will be briefed on these matters and plans to vote immediately after to give law enforcement adequate time to prepare. 

“We need our police department to have a couple weeks to actually train and make sure the officers are on board and up to speed on all that,” Sessions said. “That’s the reason for the briefing and voting on the same night.” 

SB 5536 originally failed back in April, but was passed and signed during a special session on May 16

According to the governor’s office, without the passage of SB 5536, drug possession would have been “essentially decriminalized” throughout the state starting July 1. The governor’s office went on to write that “local governments were preparing to enact their own ordinances which would result in a confusing patchwork of laws.”

SB 5536 also prioritizes treatment over incarceration like its predecessor, SB 5476. However, SB 5536 attempts to address the issue that forced cities like Lynnwood, Marysville and Kent to act by adding a “gross misdemeanor” for possession and/or public use of drugs.

Whether or not local governments will need to cover any holes in SB 5536 is yet to be seen and is likely to be discussed during the briefing planned on July 24.

The council also made a proclamation marking July 10 as Sister City and Friendship City Recognition Day. Representatives of the respective cities and the Lynnwood Sister City Association were present for the proclamation.

President Dwight Eisenhower began the sister cities program back in 1956, with Lynnwood entering into a sistership with Damyang, South Korea in 2016. Lynnwood also participated in virtual friendship city ceremonies with Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico in 2020 and Bole Kefle Ketema, Wereda 10, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2021, respectively.

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