Lawmakers Weigh Reducing Drug Possession Penalties

By: AP
By: AP
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DENVER (AP) -- Colorado lawmakers are making their case for a measure to reduce penalties for some drug possession offenses and direct money for treatment.

The bill has its first hearing in the Senate Wednesday.

Lawmakers sponsoring the bill say drug addicts should get treatment instead of long sentences that cost the state money. Prosecutors oppose the legislation and say possessing dangerous drugs merit harsh punishments.

The proposal would reduce possession of four grams or less of a scheduled I or II controlled substance, or two grams or less of methamphetamine, from a class 6 felony to a class 1 misdemeanor.

Scheduled I drugs include heroin and LSD. Scheduled II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, and some painkillers.

The bill requires that any savings from reducing the inmate population be directed toward treatment programs.

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