AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature today enacted LD 1554, which makes low-level 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.

The following can be attributed to Oamshri Amarasingham, advocacy director at the ACLU of Maine:

“This bill is recognition that harsher penalties are not the way to help people with substance use disorders. We are thrilled that fewer people will now 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.”