Colorado lawmakers are trying to pass reform that will encourage treatment rather than hard time for low level, non violent drug offenses.
Currently, if you are caught with 8 ounces of marijuana, you face felony charges and up to 6 years in prison. Under new proposed legislation, this penalty (and others like it) would be cut to a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 18 months.
The proposal was presented last Tuesday and at least one supporter, State Public Defender Doug Wilson, is quoted as saying the reform has “a 100 percent chance of passing”, according to the Denver Post. Critics of current drug laws across the country have long since been trying to get treatment based reform passed.
While distribution penalties wouldn’t change, people charged with possession would likely get off easier than before. Currently, if you are caught with more than 8 ounces of marijuana, it is a felony. Under the new legislation, you would have to be found in possession of more than 12 ounces.
Similarly, penalties for other drugs would also be cut. For instance, according to the proposed Bill 1352, being found in possession of more than 1 and less than 2 grams of meth will result in Class 6 felony charges and a potential penalty of up to 18 months. As it stands, being caught with that amount is a Class 4 felony that carries 6 years in prison.
When you are caught in possession of a drug and it’s obvious you are not a drug dealer, it makes little sense to send you to prison for years. That doesn’t solve your potential addiction and it costs the taxpayers in the long run.
With this new legislation, possession charges would be looked at as more of an opportunity to get a defendant help. Courts will be able to offer more people probation and treatment alternatives in lieu of prison time. In the meantime, however, the current laws stand.
If you are facing charges of possession of a controlled substance or even possession with intent to distribute, we may be able to help. Contact our attorneys today to discuss the details of your case.