Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bill proposed to reduce penalty for drug possession

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Rep. Mark Barker
  • Rep. Mark Barker

As Lynn Bartels at the Denver Post is reporting, Senate Bill 12-163 would, "reduce the crime of drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor" for addicts.

During the news conference to unveil the bill, Bartels writes, co-sponsor Sen. Shawn Mitchell, a Republican from Broomfield, said that his younger brother has been dealing an addiction to methamphetamine for years.

For those of you who see the drug war as a colossal, expensive, and dehumanizing failure, and want to see this bill make it into law, there's good news. As Mitchell's co-sponsorship of the bill, along with Denver Democrat Sen. Pat Steadman, should indicate, this bill appears to have broad bipartisan support.

In the House, Springs Republican Rep. Mark Barker is a co-sponsor.

According to the bill language:

The bill reduces the penalty for possession of 4 grams or less of certain drugs from a class 6 felony to a class 1 misdemeanor and reduces the penalty for possession of more than 4 grams of those certain drugs from a class 4 felony to a class 6 felony. The bill appropriates the savings from the reduction in the criminal penalties to substance abuse treatment programs. The department of human services will develop a trauma-informed substance abuse treatment and best practices training program. The bill requires a post-enactment review after two years that addresses the impact of the bill on jails and the amount of funding for jail-based treatment.

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