The state and federal governments outlawed certain drugs through the course of the 20th century. Fortunately, Colorado has been leading the charge to roll some of those laws back, legalizing marijuana in 2014 and having a more enlightened approach to drug possession and use. The federal has been much slower to change, but there has even been some movement in at least decriminalizing certain drugs and minimizing the penalties for many others.
House Bill 19-1263 signed
The governor signed this bill in 2019, which essentially makes possession of small amounts of the following Schedule I and II drugs are no longer a felony:
- Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, PCP, Mescaline, Peyote, and Psilocybin (mushrooms)
- Schedule II: Cocaine, Demerol, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Methamphetamine, Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin
Breaking the cycle
Colorado and the federal government have realized that the Zero Tolerance of the 80s and 90s devastated minority communities. It cost the taxpayers billions of dollars by greatly expanding the prison industrial complex. It also led to recidivism, which created a downward spiral with inmates going into jail for minor drug crimes and returning after release for increasingly serious crimes with longer and longer sentences.
Instead of going to jail, those convicted can go to treatment and get counseling. This, in turn, brings them back into their communities and enables them to better support themselves and their families rather than sitting in a jail cell.
An effective criminal defense is still crucial
It is still in the best interests of those facing Schedule I and II drug charges to consult with a criminal defense attorney. The penalties may not be as severe as they used to be, but convictions impact a defendant’s life in many ways, even here in Colorado. So, it is still advisable to seek the best possible outcome with the help of an attorney.