DRUG POSSESSION SENTENCING REFORM IN COLORADO
March 23, 2012
During March 2012, the Colorado Senate has introduced a bill that would change the way people are sentenced for possession of drugs in Colorado. SB 2012-163 is intended to prevent people who only posses a controlled substance from receiving a felony conviction. A felony drug sentence can have serious consequences, as we have discussed before.
SB 2012-163 makes two changes to existing Colorado drug laws. First, if you posses less than four grams of a controlled substance then you can no longer be charged with a felony, but rather only a class 1 misdemeanor. Second, if you possess four grams or more of a controlled substance you can only be charged with a class 6 felony instead of a class 4 felony. The important thing to remember about these changes is that they do not apply to offenses that involve the intent to distribute, only possession. This means if a person has other factors which indicate distribution they can be charged under a more severe statute.
Overall, the goal of SB 2012-163 is to attempt to get drug addicts treatment and keep them clear of a felony conviction so that after they have received treatment they can more easily renter the labor force. If you agree with these goals you should contact your Colorado State Senator or Representative and ask them to support SB 2012-163.