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When can Colorado residents be charged with drug manufacturing?

Recreational marijuana use may be legal in Colorado, but there is still a litany of drugs that are illegal to manufacture, sell and possess in the state. However, it is not unusual for people to possess otherwise legal items that could, potentially, be used to make illicit substances. Does this mean that, if caught, a person who possesses equipment that could potentially be used to make drugs can be charged with drug manufacturing?

In general, to have probable cause to charge a person with drug manufacturing, it must be shown that the person both possessed illegal drugs and intended to manufacture them. In general, without probable cause, the police cannot make an arrest. So, it is important that the elements of possession and intent are present when a person is arrested on drug manufacturing charges.

For example, probable cause to believe a person is manufacturing methamphetamine does not exist if a person only has a package of cold medicine in their home, even though that cold medicine could be used to make meth. However, if a large amount of the medicine was found alongside equipment and tools that could be used to make meth, then police may have probable cause to arrest that person on charges of drug manufacturing.

Just because a person possesses scales or spoons, for example, does not mean they are intending to or are manufacturing drugs. However, every person's situation is unique, so those who are facing drug charges may want to get more information about their legal options.

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