LD 1554 became law today without the signature of the governor. The law makes possession of heroin and other drugs a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Both houses of the Legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill.

The final version of LD 1554 was amended to make first and subsequent charges for low-level possession – including less that 200 mg of heroin – a misdemeanor, unless the individual has a prior furnishing or trafficking conviction. The amendment had the support of bipartisan legislators, Attorney General Janet Mills, and advocates for drug law reform.

As our advocacy director, Oamshri Amarasingham, said in our press release:

Today, Maine has taken a huge step toward correcting our failed drug policies. Treatment and prevention are the best ways to help people with substance use disorders, not harsher penalties. We are thrilled that now fewer Mainers will face felony records, and all the collateral consequences that come with them, for low-level possession. Now we can focus on getting people the help they need.