Marysville adopts law on drug possession after high court ruling

The city of Marysville has adopted a law to recriminalize the possession of drugs without a prescription.

On Monday, the Marysville City Council adopted the ordinance, making it a gross misdemeanor to possess controlled substances without a prescription.

The ordinance was enacted after a recent ruling by the state Supreme Court that struck down the state's law criminalizing the possession of controlled substances. The Supreme Court ruling eliminated any criminal penalties and the authority of police to arrest a person possing controlled substances or obtain search warrants.

Mayor Jon Nehring said in a statement Thursday illegal possession of drugs contributes to criminal activity, homelessness, and mental health issues.

"The lack of criminal penalties for the possession of controlled substances without a prescription had the potential for an immediate, direct, and negative impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the City's residents and businesses. It was critical for us to act to close this loophole and provide the necessary tools for our Police officers," said Council President Kamille Norton.

Nehring said the city continues to work with police officers, social workers, and mental health professionals to address drug problems in the city and says the absence of the criminal penalties would reduce the effectiveness of the city’s initiatives. 

Following the approval, Police Chief Erik Scairpon expressed his appreciation of the council’s actions.

"I appreciate as the Police Chief that our elected officials and the community of Marysville are committed to ensuring our police officers have the tools to address substance abuse and help guide people towards treatment and rehabilitation," said Scairpon.

The police chief also said the city's social work program has assisted over 100 people in becoming sober and helped provide housing for over 211 people.