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CHAPTER 6: SELECTED CRIMINAL OFFENSES - Table of Contents

6.1 - Overview6.2 - Inchoate Offenses6.3 - Homicide6.4 - Assault6.5 - Domestic Violence6.6 - Other Unlawful Offenses against the person6.7 - Unlawful Sexual Behavior6.8 - Offenses against Property6.9 - Tresspass, Tampering and Mischief6.10 - Offenses involving Fraud6.11 - Offenses involving Family Relations6.12 - Offenses relating to Morals6.13 - Offenses against Government Operations and Public Order6.14 - Offenses relating to Weapons6.15 - Offenses relating to Controlled Substances6.16 - Alcohol/Drug related Traffic Incidents6.17 - Crimes Against Vulnerable Victims6.18 - Computer Crimes6.19 - Identity Theft

6.15 OFFENSES RELATING TO CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

In 1992, the Colorado legislature consolidated and updated the offenses relating to drugs in Article 18 of Title 18, in an act titled the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1992. The first principle of this act is to classify various controlled substances on the basis of their dangerousness and possible medical value, and then to punish more harshly the possession of more dangerous drugs. The second principle is to punish more severely those who are selling drugs, particularly to children, than those who are merely using drugs.

Offenses relating to marihuana possession are set forth in C.R.S. § 18-18-406. A person who possesses not more than one ounce of marihuana commits a class 2 petty offense, punishable by a fine of mot more than $100. A person who openly and publicly displays, consumes or uses not more than one ounce of marihuana is guilty of a class 2 petty offenses, with a minimum penalty of a $100 fine and a maximum penalty of the fine and 15 days in jail. A person who possesses more than one ounce, but less than 8 ounces, of marihuana commits a class 1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent conviction of this offense is a class 5 felony. A person who possesses more than 8 ounces of marihuana commits a class 5 felony.

Marihuana distribution offenses are in the same section. A second or subsequent conviction of this offense is a class 4 felony. Any person who is 18 or older and who transfers for consideration more than one ounce of marihuana to any person between 15 and 18 commits a class 4 felony. Any person who is 18 or older and who transfers, with or without consideration, any amount of marihuana, to any person under 15 commits a class 4 felony. A second or subsequent conviction of either of these two offenses is a class 3 felony. Any person who knowingly grows, produces or processes marihuana is guilty of a class 4 felony. A second or subsequent violation is a class 3 felony. Any person who knowingly dispenses, sells, distributes or possesses with such intent, or attempts to do the same, is guilty of a class 4 felony. A second or subsequent violation is a class 3 felony.

Other controlled substances are classified as either Schedule I, II, III, IV or V drugs. The lists of drugs are found at C.R.S. § 18-18-203 through 207. Generally, the classification mirrors that of the federal government, largely determined by the Food and Drug Administration. The classification scheme is far too long to reproduce here. Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, mescaline and psilocyn. Schedule II drugs include opium and all derivatives, cocaine and all derivatives, methadone, and methamphetamine and its derivatives and precursors. Other, less dangerous, drugs are classified in the other schedules.

The unlawful use of a controlled substance is barred by C.R.S. § 18-18-404. This offense is a class 5 felony if the drug is a schedule I or II controlled substance, and a class 1 misdemeanor if the drug is a schedule III, IV or V controlled substance. The unlawful use statute has a provision encouraging drug treatment, through the use of a deferred judgment and sentence.

The unlawful distribution, manufacture or possession for distribution is barred by C.R.S. § 18-18-405. This statute makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly "manufacture, dispense, sell, distribute, possess or to possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell or distribute a controlled substance" or attempt or conspire to do the same. Unlawful distribution of a schedule I or certain amounts of a schedule II controlled substance is a class 3 felony. A second or subsequent violation is a class 2 felony. Unlawful distribution of smaller amounts of certain schedule II controlled substances, or of a schedule III controlled substance is a class 4 felony. A second or subsequent violation is a class 3 felony. Unlawful distribution of a schedule IV controlled substance is a class 5 felony. A second or subsequent violation is a class 4 felony. Unlawful distribution of a schedule V controlled substance is a class 1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation is a class 5 felony.

There are special sentencing provisions for certain drug offenses. Unlawful distribution of certain large amounts of certain schedule I or II controlled substances requires the imposition of a prison sentence under C.R.S. § 18-19-405(3). Additionally, C.R.S. § 18-18-407, requires the imposition of the minimum sentence for a class 2 felony, against persons convicted under this part who a) has been previously convicted of two or more distribution offenses, b) is engaging in a pattern of selling drugs, c) commits a felony in furtherance of a drug distribution conspiracy and uses either bribery or threat to further the conspiracy, d) introduced schedule I or II controlled substances into Colorado, e) distributed more than 100 pounds of marihuana, f) used a deadly weapon, g) used a child in the distribution scheme or h) engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise in connection with the distribution.

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