By Stuart Knight, Associate
Colorado is once again leading the way in criminal justice reform for non-violent drug offenses. On May 28, 2019, Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, signed HB19-1263, (effective March 1, 2020) to make personal possession of less than 4 grams of any schedule 1 or schedule 2 controlled substance, possession of more than 12 ounces of marijuana, or possession 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate a misdemeanor rather than a felony. The purpose of this revised sentencing is to provide offenders in need of treatment or other intervention with probation supervision and effective medical and behavioral intervention and treatment. HB19-1263 also provides for the creation of drug court grant program for the purpose of providing money to eligible localities to operate a misdemeanor drug court recognizing that drug abuse is primarily a health concern and should be treated as such in Colorado courts.
Drug Possession Limits and Penalties Pre-HB19-1263
Prior to HB19-1263 the possession of
amount of controlled substances listed as schedule I or II under Colorado’s Uniform Substances Act was a minimum level 4 drug felony. This includes methamphetamines, psilocybin (a.k.a. magic mushrooms), morphine, and heroin. Furthermore, the possession of more than 12 ounces of marijuana or 3 ounces of marijuana concentrate was also considered a level 4 drug felony and the possession of 3 ounces or less of marijuana concentrate was considered a Class 1 drug misdemeanor. Class drug 4 felonies are presumptively punishable by six months to one year of imprisonment followed by a year of parole and/or the imposition of a $1000-$100,000 fine. Class 1 drug misdemeanors are punishable by a sentence of up to 2 years probation, with the possibility of up to 180 days of jail time and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. ANY
Drug Possession Limits and Penalties Post-HB19-1263
Starting March 1, 2020, possession of less than 4 grams of a schedule I or II controlled substance, the possession of more than 12 ounces of marijuana, or the possession of more than three ounces of marijuana concentrate is considered a Class 1 drug misdemeanor. Possession of 3 ounces or less of marijuana concentrate is now considered a class 2 drug misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year of probation, with the possibility of up to 120 days of jail time, and/or a maximum $500 fine.
Misdemeanor Drug Court
In addition to revising the sentencing guidelines for minor drug possession HB19-1263 also created a grant program to support cities and counties in the implementation and operation of a misdemeanor drug court. The express purpose of these misdemeanor drug courts is to provide the necessary intervention to support misdemeanor drug offenders in an effort to treat drug abuse as a health concern, focusing on treatment over incarceration.
About Greenspoon Marder
Greenspoon Marder is a national full-service business law firm with over 200 attorneys and offices across the United States. We are ranked among
American Lawyer’s Am Law 200, as one of the top law firms in the U.S. since 2015. Our firm was founded with the goal of providing the highest quality legal services at the highest value for our clients. Each of our clients is unique and so are their legal needs. We believe no one size fits all for professional services. Our lawyers offer flexible and creative solutions to meet our clients’ respective needs. Our mission is to understand the challenges our clients face, build collaborative relationships and craft solutions with a focus on strategic goals.
Natalie Villanueva, Director of Marketing
954.333.4308 | email@example.com
This Greenspoon Marder LLP Client Alert is issued for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed or used as general legal advice nor a solicitation of any type. Please contact the author(s) or your Greenspoon Marder LLP contact if you have any questions regarding the currency of this information. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision. Before you decide, ask for written information about the lawyer’s legal qualifications and experience.