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House panel advances bill softening sentences for drug possession

"Colorado lawmakers are moving ahead with drug-possession sentencing reforms as part of a broader effort to curb the opioid epidemic and drive down the state’s prison population."


“We know that addiction is a public health issue,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Denver who is sponsoring the bill. “We need to get people to the right place. And just putting someone in (the Department of Corrections) for simple possession is not doing that.”


"The House Judiciary Committee Tuesday afternoon passed the bill, HB-1263, 8-3." 


"Possession of highly addictive drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine is a felony under Colorado’sUniform Controlled Substances Act. The bill would make possession of less than two grams of these drugs a misdemeanor, and would also apply to fentanyl, MDMA, LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Possession with the intent to sell would still be a felony."


"The reforms come as the state’s 22 prisons reach 99 percent capacity. Driving the prison population growth is a rise in the number of criminal filings in district court, which have more than doubled since 2012."



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