Colorado ecstasy laws make it a probationable drug misdemeanor to ingest ecstasy or to possess up to 4 grams of the schedule I drug for personal use. But it is an automatic drug felony to sell, make, or distribute any amount of ecstasy. And the higher the quantity of ecstasy, the harsher the prison sentence.
Below our Denver criminal defense attorneys discuss Colorado ecstasy laws:
- 1. Is using ecstasy a crime in Colorado?
- 2. What are the penalties for possessing ecstasy?
- 3. Is selling or making ecstasy a felony?
- 4. How do I fight the charges?
1. Is using ecstasy a crime in Colorado?
Yes. Ingesting or otherwise consuming ecstasy is a level 2 drug misdemeanor in Colorado. Penalties include:
- Up to 12 months in county jail, and/or
- $50 to $750 in fines
However, the court may instead impose the following, lighter penalty for drug use:
- Probation of up to 1 year;
- Possibly 120 days in jail (or 180 days in jail for a 3rd or subsequent offense); and
- Up to $500 in fines1
Learn more about the unlawful use of controlled substances in Colorado (CRS 18-18-404).
2. What are the penalties for possessing ecstasy?
Knowingly possessing up to 4 grams of ecstasy is a level 1 drug misdemeanor in Colorado. Penalties include:
- 6 to 18 months in jail; and/or
- $500 to $5,000 in fines
However, the court can instead impose probation, which may include:
- Possibly 180 days in jail time (or up to 364 days for a 3rd offense); and/or
- Up to $1,000
Note that a fourth conviction is a level 4 drug felony, carrying:
- 6 to 12 months of Colorado State Prison time (plus 1 year of parole), and/or
- A fine of $1,000-$100,000.
Meanwhile, possessing more than 4 grams of ecstasy is a level 4 drug felony in Colorado. This carries:
- 6 to 12 months in prison (plus 1 year of parole), and/or
- A fine of $1,000-$100,000.
Note that the definition of drug possession is being in physical control of the drug. This comprises:
- Actual possession, such as physically carrying the drugs;
- Constructive possession, such as having the drugs stored in one’s home or safe; or
- Joint possession, which is sharing control or ownership of the drugs with at least one other person2
Learn more about drug possession charges in Colorado (CRS 18-18-403.5).
Note that possessing ecstasy with the intent to sell it is an entirely separate crime under CRS 18-18-405, discussed in the next section.
3. Is selling or making ecstasy a felony?
Yes. Colorado drug law makes it a felony charge to sell, manufacture, distribute, or dispense ecstasy. Merely possessing ecstasy for the purpose of selling it is a felony as well.
It is always a level 1 drug felony for an adult to sell or give any amount of ecstasy to a minor (under 18) at least two years younger than the adult. This carries eight to 32 years in prison and a potential fine of $5,000 to $1,000,000.
Otherwise, the criminal penalties for selling, making, or dispensing drugs depend on the quantity of ecstasy involved:
Quantity of ecstasy in Colorado
|Penalties for selling, making, dispensing, or possessing for sale|
|4 grams or less for immediate and personal use||Level 4 drug felony: |
Depending on the case, the defendant may be eligible for probation and drug treatment.
In the aggravated range, a level 4 drug felony conviction can carry 1 – 2 years in prison.
|Up to 14 grams||Level 3 drug felony: |
In the aggravated range, a level 3 drug felony can carry 4 – 6 years in prison.
|More than 14 grams to 225 grams||Level 2 drug felony: |
In the aggravated range, a level 2 drug felony can carry 8 – 16 years in prison.
|More than 225 grams||Level 1 drug felony: |
In the aggravated range, a level 1 drug felony can carry a minimum of 12 years in prison.3
Learn more about selling and making controlled substances (CRS 18-18-405).
4. How do I fight the charges?
A skilled Colorado drug defense lawyer has many tools to help defendants fight ecstasy drug charges. Common defenses include:
- The defendant did not possess or own the ecstasy;4
- The ecstasy was found during an illegal search and seizure by law enforcement; or
- The police engaged in misconduct (such as entrapment, coercing a confession or falsifying evidence).
It may also be possible to get a felony criminal charge under CRS 18-18-405 reduced to a simple possession charge by showing that the defendant had the drugs just for recreational use.
Have you or a loved one been arrested? Contact our Colorado criminal defense lawyers to discuss creating an attorney-client relationship for your drug case.
Our criminal justice attorneys serve clients throughout the state, including Denver, Boulder, Greeley, Colorado Springs, and more. We also defend clients facing federal drug charges as well. Disclaimer: Results cannot be guaranteed.
Arrested in Nevada? Go to our article on Nevada ecstasy crimes.
- CRS 18-1.3-404; House Bill 19-1263.
- CRS 18-18-403.5; see also People v. Butler, (Colo.App. Div 1, 2009) 224 P.3d 380.
- CRS 18-18-405.
- See, e.g., People v. McKnight (Colo. 2019) CO 36.