Colorado Drug Trafficking Laws

In the context of illicit drugs, the term "trafficking" refers to the act of moving large quantities of drugs for distribution, often involving multiple states and/or international transactions. While most states have no specific charge for drug trafficking, per se, charges and penalties for distributing illicit drugs are based primarily on the amount and type of drug. In Colorado, the sale or distribution of more than 112 grams of methamphetamine or heroin, for instance, can land you in prison for up to 32 years. But being convicted of distributing the same amount of anabolic steroids will result in a maximum prison sentence of six years.

Trafficking Legally Grown Marijuana to Other States

The legality -- at least under state law -- of recreational marijuana in Colorado raises questions about its sale beyond state boundaries. Colorado law makes it clear that legally produced marijuana ceases to be legal once it crosses state borders. While failure to comply with Colorado medical or recreational marijuana regulations can result in drug charges (listed in the table below), it's more common for authorities in the destination states to file charges of possession or possession with intent to sell against the recipient.

And if it crosses state lines, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) may be more inclined to take action (especially if suspects in multiple states are part of the same investigation).

Colorado Drug Trafficking Laws: The Basics

Additional information about Colorado drug trafficking laws, specifically the charges and penalties under state law, is listed below.

Statutes

Colorado Revised Statutes ยง 18-18-405, et seq.

Statutory Definition of the Offense

It is unlawful for any person knowingly to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, or to possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, a controlled substance; or induce, attempt to induce, or conspire with one or more other persons, to manufacture, dispense, sell, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, a controlled substance; or possess one or more chemicals or supplies or equipment with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

Charges for Sales and Distribution of Controlled Substances (Excluding Marijuana)

Level 1 drug felony - Any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that weighs:

  • >225g and contains a schedule I or II drug;
  • >112g and contains methamphetamine, heroin, katamine, or cathinones;
  • >50mg and contains flunitrazepam; or
  • Transfer of any amount to a minor.

Level 2 drug felony - Any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that weighs:

  • 14-225g and contains a schedule I or II drug;
  • 7-112g and contains methamphetamine, heroin, katamine, or cathinones;
  • 10-50g and contains flunitrazepam; or
  • Transfer of any amount to a minor.

Level 3 drug felony - Any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that weighs:

  • Up to 14g and contains a schedule I or II drug;
  • Up to 7g and contains methamphetamine, heroin, katamine, or cathinones;
  • Up to 10g and contains flunitrazepam; or
  • >4g and contains a schedule III or IV drug.

Level 1 drug misdemeanor

  • A schedule V drug; or
  • Transfer (without an actual sale) of 4g or less of a schedule III or IV drug.
Marijuana Sales and Distribution Charges (When Regulations are Violated)

Sale, Distribution, or Possession with Intent to Sell Marijuana or Marijuana Concentrate

  • Level 1 drug felony: >50 lbs. marijuana or >25 lbs. concentrate
  • Level 2 drug felony: 5-50 lbs. marijuana or 2.5-25 lbs. concentrate
  • Level 3 drug felony: 12 oz.-5 lbs. marijuana or 6 oz.-2.5 lbs. concentrate
  • Level 4 drug felony: 4-12 oz. marijuana or 2-6 oz. concentrate
  • Level 1 drug misdemeanor: <4 oz. marijuana or <2 oz. concentrate
Penalties
  • Level 1 drug felony: 8-32 yrs. in prison, $5,000-$1 million in fines
  • Level 2 drug felony: 4-16 yrs. in prison, $3,000-$750,000 in fines
  • Level 3 drug felony: 2-6 yrs. in prison, $2,000-$500,000 in fines
  • Level 1 drug misdemeanor: 6-18 mos. in jail, $500-$5,000 in fines


Note: State laws are always subject to change. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult a Colorado criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources

Learn More About Your Drug Trafficking Case with a Free Evaluation

If you have been charged with drug trafficking in Colorado -- or rather, the sale or distribution of a large amount of drugs -- you most likely will be facing a lengthy prison sentence upon conviction. The best way to defend yourself in court and get the best outcome possible is to work with a criminal defense attorney. Get started today with a free legal evaluation of your case from a Colorado criminal lawyer.

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