It looks like the final fentanyl bill passed in the wee hours of the legislative session that was supposed to crack down on possession of up to four grams of the lethal drug has instead frustrated both sides of the debate who are calling on a veto and a redo.
Critics of this new 90-page bill say it once again gives a free pass to possession of one gram as a misdemeanor charge.
And, the new and not-at-all improved legislation also gives a free pass on felony charges to everyone who can prove they didn’t know their two to four grams of drug contained fentanyl.
In other words, this entire legislative exercise was a total bust and does not fix the fentanyl loophole blamed for hundreds of deaths in Colorado.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and some district attorneys say the measure didn’t go far enough, reports Colorado Politics.
“The bill that the Colorado legislature passed is wholly inadequate to address this critical problem that is resulting in the death of far too many Coloradans,” Suthers said in a statement.
Prosecutor John Kellner in the 18th Judicial District, said the new language sets a higher standard than applied to cocaine, meth and heroin.
Considering fentanyl is far more deadly, it’s looking like this legislation that was supposed to launch its key sponsor, state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, into the 7th District congressional seat, has instead backfired on both sides of the aisle.
Brittany Petersen calls this a victory. It’s not. A last minute change allows suspects to claim they didn’t know it was fentanyl to avoid a felony charge. Meanwhile fentanyl deaths in CO are skyrocketing. #ReichertforCongress #COPolitics #CO7 https://t.co/uG4hVSyWBO
— Tim Reichert (@TimReichertCO) May 12, 2022
The ACLU and drug support groups that provide testing strips for fentanyl as well as crack pipes, Naloxone and syringes, oppose any criminal penalty for possession of fentanyl because they don’t believe addicts should be criminalized for using illegal drugs.
I have to go to work tomorrow and explain to my patients what this bill will mean for them. Incarceration. Homelessness. Death. I am dreading the looks of fear and horror on their faces when I explain to them the consequences they will be subjected to for their addiction.
— Sarah Axelrath, MD (@DrSarahAxelrath) May 12, 2022
In all likelihood, Polis will sign the bill, whistling his way past the graveyard as he makes his way to what will surely be a media circus event for Petersen.