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Colorado Cocaine Laws

While the powder that Aspen is famous for today is different than the kind that made Miami famous in the '70s and '80s, Colorado still has a high rate of cocaine use and abuse compared to the rest of the country. Rocky Mountain authorities crack down heavily on cocaine sale and possession as both are felonies under state law. This is due, in part, to the increased violence surrounding the manufacturing, trafficking, and use of cocaine. So what exactly will get you into trouble, and what are the penalties? This is a brief summary of cocaine laws in Colorado.

State Cocaine Laws

As a Schedule II narcotic, every state criminalizes the possession, sale, or trafficking of cocaine, though their particular cocaine laws may vary in terms of penalties. As a felony crime in Colorado, the sale of cocaine could mean up to 32 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and even simple possession could mean 1 year in prison and $500,000 in fines, depending on the amount.

Cocaine Statutes in Colorado

The following table outlines Colorado's cocaine laws.


Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-18-204 (cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-18-403.5 (possession of any quantity of cocaine is unlawful)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-18-404 (unlawful use)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-18-405 (unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing or sale)

Penalties for Possession

Level 4 Drug Felony: This is punishable by between 6 months and 1 year in prison and between $1,000 and $500,000 in fines.

Penalties for Use

Level 2 Drug Misdemeanor. This is punishable by between 3 months and 1 year in prison and between $250 and $1,000 in fines.

Penalties for Distribution, Manufacturing, Dispensing or Sale

Level 1 Drug Felony: If over 225g, if any quantity is transferred to a minor, or if any quantity is transferred on the grounds or within 1,000 feet of any public or private elementary school, middle school, junior high school, high school, vocational school or public housing development. This is punishable by between 8 and 32 years in prison and between $5,000 and $1 million in fines.

Level 2 Drug Felony: If between 14g and 225g. This is punishable by between 4 and 8 years in prison and between $3,000 and $750,000 in fines.

Level 3 Drug Felony: If under 14g. This is punishable by between 2 and 4 years in prison and $2,000 and $500,000 in fines.


Defenses can include:

  • Mistake of fact
  • Lack of intent
  • Involuntary intoxication
  • Duress/coercion

For more information on defenses see Drug Possession Defenses.

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. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Colorado Cocaine Laws: Related Resources

It's not just state cocaine laws you have to worry about as federal narcotics laws also prohibit everything from simple cocaine possession all the way up to manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution. Federal penalties for cocaine possession or sale across state lines can be severe. Recently, jurisdictions like Colorado have recently created specialized "drug courts" that may allow first or second-time defendants to avoid lengthy jail sentences by committing to drug treatment programs. For additional resources on drug laws in Colorado, see the articles below:

Get Legal Help With Your Cocaine Charges

With all of the overlapping federal and state laws relating to cocaine and the multiple sentences that can apply, you need to take any drug accusations against you seriously. Thankfully, there are expert attorneys that specialize in drug cases who can vigorously advocate for you in court. Find a Colorado drug crimes attorney today and get some peace of mind.

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  • Complex drug crimes usually require a lawyer
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