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Colorado Senate advances bill to crack down on fentanyl distribution, language change makes bill tougher

State Capitol
Posted at 6:02 PM, May 06, 2022

COLORADO — On Friday, Colorado's state Senate voted 24 to 8 to advance a high-profile bill, aimed at cracking down on fentanyl distribution in Colorado.

The vote comes a day after the language in HB22-1326 was amended. Before the amendment, the bill stated anyone in possession of 1 to 4 grams of fentanyl could face felony charges if they knew, or had reason to know, they were in possession of the drug.

With the change in language, the term "knowingly" was dropped, meaning anyone unknowingly possessing 1 to 4 grams of any substance containing fentanyl could potentially be charged with a felony.

Shawn Conti is a lawyer and firm-owner in Pueblo. He says the amendment is concerning for people who may have purchased drugs having no idea they were laced with fentanyl.

"Maybe they're not going to prison, but they still have a felony over their head, and the collateral consequences of having a felony are huge. It's going effect where you can live, whether you can own firearms, and even if you can get certain types of jobs."

The amendment might not stick. The bill must head back to the House of Representatives for approval in its current state, before the governor can sign off on it.
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