Punishment For Cocaine, Fentanyl, Meth Reduced in Colorado
A new law, set to go into effect in March of 2020 will reduce the charges for four grams or less of drugs such as cocaine and fentanyl to a misdemeanor.
House Bill 19-1263 has been signed into law, making possession of four grams or less of a schedule one or 2 of a controlled substance a misdemeanor rather than a felony. That includes cocaine, fentanyl, and meth.
The reasoning behind the measure is to try to promote treatment for those who have been arrested with only a small amount of the drugs rather than place them in prison.
Anyone caught with more than four grams will still be facing felony charges for possession.
Those who opposed the measure feel it will become more of a problem since they won't face felony charges. Michael Allen, Senior Deputy District Attorney in the Fourth District of Colorado feels it will have the opposite effect of what lawmakers are hoping for:
"I don't think that it really was that much of a burden on the felony level. I think it's actually going to create a bigger burden now, because we're dropping them down to misdemeanor. It's going to cause an increase in the jail population because only misdemeanors can be housed in the jail as punishment... It's creating this sort of public tolerance to drug use and abuse and when we're talking about decriminalizing felony possession of different dangerous drugs and deadly drugs like fentanyl, fentanyl's a very deadly drug, we're just legitimizing it being in our community,"
Many feel reducing the charges on these drugs will only make the situation worse. This bears watching.