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In May of 2019, a bill was signed into law by Colorado state governor Jared Polis that effectively reclassifies personal possession of schedule 1 and 2 narcotics from a felony to a misdemeanor. The bill, known as HB19-1263, officially went into effect at the beginning of March, 2020. 

HB19-1263 renders the punishment for personal possession of controlled substances like DMT, LSD, cocaine, and more much less severe. Coloradans can no longer be jailed for these offenses (up to the limit of four grams), and penalties and fines for that possession are reduced significantly. 

The implications of those reduced penalties are significant. A felony is a rather severe mark on one's criminal record, and not receiving that mark for possession of narcotics can significantly help one out in the long run with job prospects, future opportunities, family and personal life, and more. 

Furthermore, there is a benefit for non-incarceration to not only the persons involved, but the state itself. Reducing incarceration costs by taking these cases off the table helps the state budget and limit resource expenditures more effectively, saving the state and taxpayers money. In fact, the Joint Budget Committee calculated that in the span of five years, HB19-1263 could save the state of Colorado between $8.6-13 million. 

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The bill affects Colorado culture and lifestyle significantly. Safe recreational drug use (and methods to help keep those practices safe) will now be less stigmatized, allowing those who do partake to worry less about lifestyle choices and the long-term effects and judgements stemming from them. 

H/T: The Rooster


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