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Colorado drug-related debate lively, sharply divergent

Two distinct camps, two polar-opposite views.

That dichotomy and stark difference of opinion is manifestly evident in discussions focused on an upcoming change in Colorado criminal law.

That adjustment is both material and imminent. As noted in a recent Coloradoan newspaper article, its bottom line it this: Come next spring, many drug possession cases previously deemed as felony matters will be recharacterized as misdemeanors.

That is of course a change of real magnitude. Many state residents might be a bit surprised, though. by the lively debate that has arisen surrounding both alleged merits and drawbacks in the new law.

The opinion barometer seems steady and well-marked, with staked-out views that espouse strongly opposed versus staunchly supportive positions, respectively.

Naysayers of the projected law could scarcely be clearer in their rationale underscoring what they regard as misguided legislation. They adamantly stress that a new regime of so-called “defelonization” will undermine rather than promote public safety, as well as deplete public coffers.

“Reducing the possible penalties is not the way to encourage people to seek treatment and avoid starting drugs in the first place,” says one critic.

What especially alarms the anti-legislation camp is the potential for local communities suddenly tasked with treating drug offenders having addiction problems to become financially overwhelmed by the mandate. Defelonization’s opponents believe that a criminal law response at the state level is a more doable proposition, even if it routinely results in incarceration outcomes.

Proponents of the new law disagree with detractors for myriad reasons. We will take a look at their views in our next blog post.

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