Maine lawmakers have formally introduced a bill to broadly decriminalize possession of all currently illicit drugs—the latest state-based move to comprehensively address ending the drug war.
Rep. Anne Perry (D) is the lead sponsor of the legislation, which would make possession of a controlled substance a civil penalty punishable by a $100 fine without the threat of jail time. If a person is unable to pay the fine, it could be waived if they underwent a health assessment which could involve a referral to substance misuse treatment.
Additionally, the proposal stipulates that people who seek out medical assistance for the anti-overdose medication naloxone, either for their own behalf or for another person, could not be subject to arrest or prosecution. It’s another harm reduction provision that advocates say will mitigate overdose deaths and destigmatize drug use.
The bill has been referred to the legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
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