Update: At the public hearing on April 21, 2021, LD 994 received unanimous testimony in support, including from harm reduction service providers,  people in recovery, physicians, and law enforcement officials. It will now move onto a work session.

This bill removes criminal penalties for possession and exchange of hypodermic needles. Removing criminal penalties for possession and exchange of needles is an important step in undoing the harms of the war on drugs and enables safe access to clean needles. This bill is a necessary public health-informed response to the opioid crisis. When a person has a criminal record because of minor drug crimes, it creates serious barriers to housing, employment and other basic necessities.

Sponsors

Rep. Genevieve McDonald

Session

130

Bill number

Position

Support

1. ACLU Testimony in Support

Q.ACLU Testimony in Support
A.

ACLU of Maine offered testimony in support of LD 994 at the public hearing on April 21, 2021.

It read, in part:

"We have had these laws on the books for a quarter of a century. Drug arrests continue to rise, yet Maine’s overdose numbers also continue to rise. That’s because these laws do not work.

"But we know what does work, and that is harm reduction. There is consensus among public health leaders that harm reduction is an effective tool to keep people who use drugs safer and open potential avenues to recovery."

Read the full testimony here.