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. If it crosses state lines, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) may also be more inclined to take action (especially if suspects in multiple states are part of the same investigation).
The way that statutes are written can make it difficult to get a quick and straightforward answer to a legal question. An overview of Colorado drug trafficking laws, specifically the charges and penalties under state law, is provided in the following chart. Colorado Revised Statutes Title 18. Article 18, Part 4, Section 18-18-405, et seq. (Unlawful Distribution, Manufacturing, Dispensing, or Sale)
Statutory Definition of Offense
It's unlawful for any person to knowingly:
manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, or to possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, a controlled substance;
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:
Over 225g and contains a schedule I or II drug
Over 112g and contains methamphetamine, heroin or ketamine
Over 50mg and contains flunitrazepam
Transfer of any amount to a minor
Level 2 drug felony: Any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that's transferred to a minor or which weighs:
14-225g and contains a schedule I or II drug
7-112g and contains methamphetamine, heroin or ketamine
10-50g and contains flunitrazepam
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 or ketamine
Up to 10g and contains flunitrazepam
Over 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)
Level 1 drug felony: Over 50 lbs. marijuana or over 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: Under 4 oz. marijuana or under 2 oz. concentrate
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 4 drug felony: 6 mos.-2 yrs. in prison, $1,000-$100,000 in fines
Level 1 drug misdemeanor: 6-18 mos. in jail, $500-$5,000 in fines
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means.
Learn More About Your Drug Trafficking Case
If you've been charged with drug trafficking in Colorado 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 an experienced lawyer. Contact Molly Jansen Law Group.