New Colorado Drug Laws

New Drug Law Reclassifies Many Simple Possession Crimes

On March 1st, 2020 HB 19-1263 went in effect to reclassify many drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, and reduce sentencing for many drug offenses.   Under the new law, the classifications for possession of less than 4 grams of most Schedule I and II controlled substances, and possession of any amount of Schedule III, IV, and V controlled substances, are reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.  Possession of ketamine and some “date-rape” drugs remain classified as felonies, as do possession with intent to distribute and manufacturing behavior.

The new law also reduces sentencing ranges for misdemeanor drug possession, reducing maximum 18-month prison sentences to county jail of 6 months or less, or 2 years probation.    The new law is designed to address the need for treatment in drug cases, stating, “This sentencing scheme recognizes that drug use and possession is primarily a health concern and should be treated as such by Colorado courts.”

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