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Big changes are coming to Colorado drug charges

Colorado has officially defelonized possession of Schedule I and II drugs, with the exception of GHB. This means that, for those found with 4 grams or less of Schedule I and II drugs, instead of facing a felony charge, they will now only face a drug misdemeanor.

Signed into law last year, House Bill 1293 -Offense Level for Controlled Substance Possession – recently became the law of the land. However, this law is not retroactive. Only those charged on or after March 1, 2020, will benefit from the reduced classification.

With some restrictions, our state already decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. Prior to this new law though, possessing most other controlled substances remained a felony. Now, if someone is found with 4 grams or less of heroin and LSD (Schedule I), or opium, codeine, and methamphetamine (Schedule II), they will face a level 1 drug misdemeanor charge instead of a felony charge.

If convicted, the sentence is two years of probation or up to a 180 day jail sentence. But, on a person’s third offense, the level 1 drug misdemeanor does still become a felony.

The reason for this change is to decriminalize addiction. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Leslie Herod noted that the updates focused on treatment as the best way to deal with addiction, not jail.

This sentiment and the change in the law shows that attitudes and, thus, laws governing drugs are changing. Knowing and understanding these changes can be important for anyone facing drug charges. Working with attorneys who follow these changes closely can give some peace of mind that the strongest possible case will be prepared.

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