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Lawmakers Consider Bill To Lower Penalties For Drug Possession

DENVER (CBS4) -- Lawmakers will consider a bill Tuesday that would lower the penalty for possession of illegal drugs for personal use. Under existing law, possession of a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II is a felony. If HB19-1263 passes, it would reduce simple drug possession crimes in Colorado to a misdemeanor and remove the felony charge for possessing more than 12 ounces of marijuana.

Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote, methaqualone, and Ecstasy. Schedule II drugs include oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamine (including Adderall), methamphetamine and Ritalin.

Under the current law, people convicted of possessing those drugs for personal use face a maximum penalty of 18 months. The bill would reduce that to a maximum of six months in jail and two years of probation.

The bill would not change penalties related to drug-distribution charges.

Supporters say the approach would prioritize treatment and help alleviate over crowding in state prisons.

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