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Drug Crimes: 2010 Law Update

Changes to Colorado Drug Laws 2010 – Controlled Substances

In addition to the bills concerning medical marijuana, (see page on Medical Marijuana) the Colorado General Assembly adopted

House Bill 10-1352 , which adjusts the penalties for several offenses related to controlled substances and also provides new sentencing guidelines for offenders convicted of such offenses.

In particular the bill:

  • lowers the penalty for the unlawful use of a controlled substance from various levels, depending on the circumstances, to a class 2 misdemeanor, regardless of the circumstances;
  • separates the crime of possession of a controlled substance (other than marijuana) from the crime of manufacturing, dispensing, selling, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute;
  • adds the sale of a controlled substance to a minor (under the age of 18) to the definition of unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, sale, or possession of a controlled substance. Sale of a controlled substance to a minor is a class 3 felony and carries a mandatory prison sentence;
  • lowers the penalties for the crimes of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and manufacturing, dispensing, selling, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute;
  • substantially changes offenses related to marijuana with regard to the amount required to constitute a crime and lowers associated penalties;
  • requires the court, in a case in which an individual who is 18 or older is convicted of transferring or dispensing any amount of marijuana to a person under the age of 15, to sentence the defendant to a mandatory period of incarceration;
  • increases the amount of a schedule I or II controlled substance necessary for a defendant, who is convicted of unlawfully introducing, distributing, or importing such a substance into Colorado, to be designated as a special offender for sentencing purposes;
  • clarifies the conditions under which possession of a firearm in the commission of a drug offense designates a defendant as a special offender;
  • lowers the penalty for fraud and deceit related to a controlled substance to a class 6 felony;
  • requires that moneys appropriated pursuant to the bill be deposited in the Drug Offender Surcharge Fund and allocated according to a plan developed by specified stakeholders to cover the costs associated with the treatment of substance abuse or co-occurring disorders of adult offenders who are assessed to be in need of treatment and who are: on probation; on diversion; on parole; in community corrections; or in jail; and
  • nder current law, any individual who is convicted or receives a deferred sentence for a drug-related crime is required to pay a surcharge. The amount of the surcharge paid by each offender is based on the class of the offense. The bill raises the surcharge for class 4, 5, and 6 felonies, class 1, 2, and 3 misdemeanors, and class 2 petty offenses related to the possession of marijuana.

See the full Text of the bill at: House Bill 10-1352

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