Denver CO Lawyers
The Five “Schedules” of Drugs in Colorado, Explained

The Five “Schedules” of Drugs in Colorado, Explained

Man taking drugs in a car

Because states have the ability to create their own drug laws (within reason), laws regarding legal and illegal drugs are constantly changing at the state and federal level. For example, as of March 1, 2020, it is no longer a Colorado felony to possess up to four grams of such narcotics as methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin.

How Colorado Classifies Controlled Substances

Colorado divides all controlled substances (with the expectation of possession of synthetic cannabinoids and salvia) into five “schedules.” Schedules range from one to five, according to the drug’s likelihood for abuse. Colorado law now treats possession of small amounts of Schedule I and II drugs as a misdemeanor under the Colorado defelonization law.

  • Schedule I: Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous — they have no accepted medical use and have the highest potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs include heroin and hallucinogens, such as LSD, PCP, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline, and peyote.
  • Schedule II: Drugs in this schedule also have a high potential for abuse, however, they do have some accepted medical uses. Schedule II drugs include opium and prescription opioid pain pills, such as oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, fentanyl, and methadone. It also includes stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamines.
  • Schedule III: Schedule III drugs have an accepted medical use but it is noted that these drugs do have the potential to lead to low or moderate dependence (physical, psychological, or both). Drugs in this schedule include barbiturates, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and medications including small amounts of codeine.
  • Schedule IV: These drugs have a lower potential for abuse than other schedules and have an accepted medical use. If abused, they can lead to low levels of psychological and physical dependence. Drugs include prescription anti-anxiety medications and non-barbiturate sleep medications. Understanding drug laws changes in relation to these substances is crucial, as legal frameworks adjust to new medical insights and societal attitudes.
  • Schedule V: Schedule V drugs are considered the least dangerous and have the lowest potential for abuse. They also have many accepted medical uses. Drugs in this category largely consist of over-the-counter medications

If you were accused of or charged with a drug crime, schedule your free initial consultation by completing our online form or calling (720) 445-9887 today. This is especially important if your case involves illegal drugs in Colorado, where understanding specific state laws is crucial.

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