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Colorado law reduces penalties for drug offenders

Drug offenders in Colorado will soon face fewer penalties after a new law was signed by the state's governor. The new law reduces the penalties for individuals convicted of drug crimes in Colorado. The state passed the law in an effort to focus on treatment and rehabilitation for drug offenders instead of sending them to prison.

The new law will treat felony drug crimes different from other felony crimes committed in Colorado. The state now has a specific sentencing plan for drug crimes that will keep more offenders from going to prison and instead send them to treatment programs.

The law allows people convicted of possessing small amounts of illegal drugs to reduce their felony conviction to a misdemeanor once they complete their sentence and any court ordered treatment. Judges will have the discretion to require treatment for drug offenders as well as determine if the offender completed their probation successfully.

The law is supported by many lawmakers and district attorneys in Colorado. Supporters of the new law say that it will help low-level drug offenders get their life back while still allowing the state to impose harsh penalties for serious drug offenders.

Supporters say that in the past, low-level drug offenders in Colorado face harsh penalties for minor offenses that could ruin the rest of their lives by making it harder to find housing and a job. Now, under the new law, it will make it easier for low-level offenders to become a part of society again since they will only have a misdemeanor conviction instead of a felony.

The new law goes into effect in the beginning of October. 

Source: KRDO, "New Colorado law reduces penalties for all drug crimes," Lindsay Watts, May 31, 2013

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