Board Approves Policy Proposal on Decriminalizing Simple Possession of Illicit Drugs 


At its December 12 meeting, the MMA Board of Trustees approved a policy proposal submitted through The Pulse on the “Decriminalization of Simple Possession of Illicit Drugs.”  

The proposal was brought forth by the MMA Policy Council. Earlier this year, the Policy Council formed the MMA Illicit Drug Harm Reduction and Decriminalization Work Group (IDWG), which studied the issue. 

The resulting proposal from the IDWG’s deliberations calls for: 

  • The removal of criminal penalties for the possession of a small quantity of illicit drug for personal use and/or the possession of drug paraphernalia. 

  • The creation of administrative panels which may render treatment referrals and civil penalties to offenders of simple possession. 

  • An increased investment in statewide harm reduction and medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) programs. 

  • The release of individuals incarcerated for simple possession from detention settings. 

  • The expungement of criminal records for simple possession. 

Two hundred and sixty members voted on the policy proposal, with 219 voting yes, 34 voting no and seven not taking a position.  
The Pulse, available only to MMA members, can be used to submit policy proposals for MMA consideration, vote on policy proposals prior to MMA Board action, and provide feedback on decisions made by the MMA Board.