Most people in Colorado would agree that certain drugs, like fentanyl, heroin and cocaine are dangerous. For this reason, these drugs are classified as Schedule I or Schedule II drugs, meaning that drug charges involving these substances are more serious than charges for other drugs. However, a new bill has been signed into law that would change the way these substances are treated when it comes to drug crimes.
In a move that is expected to save the state a significant amount of money, the governor recently signed a bill into law that essentially defelonizes certain controlled substances. Under the new law, a single-time possession of small amounts of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug will no longer be a felony under Colorado law. Instead, this crime will be considered a misdemeanor. It is important to note, however, that drug trafficking or distribution are still felony crimes.
The state Joint Budget Committee reported that over the next five years the new law could save the state between $8.6 and $13.7 million. These savings will be used to assist in the funding of new drug treatment centers. The new law will take effect in 2020.
This new law may be good news for those facing certain drug charges. The punishments for felony crimes are much greater than the punishments for misdemeanor crimes. Moreover, having a felony on your criminal record could affect your life long after you have served your sentence. However, it is important to note that these changes do not apply to all drug charges. Therefore, it is important to understand the scope of this new law, so that you can make informed decisions if you are charged with a crime under it.