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New drug policies heavily affect local college students

Parents in Colorado have a reason to rejoice as Gov. Pollis signed a new bill into law which "de-felonizes" possession of several common drugs and reduces sentencing for drug misdemeanor charges in 2020.

Why does this new law appeal to parents? The primary purpose of the law encourages treatment over "criminal punishment" or incarceration. Ultimately, it benefits addicts and college students who possess specific controlled substances, such as ecstasy.

Why change the approach now?

As stated, the new law wants to encourage treatment over incarceration. It also wants to allow people to move on from certain drug charges by sealing any convictions after five years of sentence completion. Again. It's incredibly beneficial for college students who experimented with drugs and want to find a strong position after graduation.

However, students who are distributing or dealing ecstasy will face more severe charges - possibly facing prison time. It's crucial to know the difference between possession charges versus distribution charges under the law's terms.

What do I do if my child is charged before 2020?

The new policies won't take effect until January 1, 2020, so any possession charges before then fall under the current laws. It's also important to note that the bill isn't retroactive, which means it won't change any sentences or convictions that happened before 2020.

So what can parents do to help their student after possession charges? First, Colorado uses a classification system to rank controlled substances in severity. Depending on which drug your child possesses, they will either be sentenced to a misdemeanor or a felony.

Another factor is how much drugs they have and how many prior offenses they have. Both these factors will only increase the severity of the fines or prison time your child serves. It also will affect future job applications, mortgage loans and other experiences.

The best bet you can make is finding the right representation for your child. You need to help them avoid any mark on their record that could affect them. Consider discussing with your child the charges against them and finding the right attorney for your situation.

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