Advertisement of Drug Paraphernalia
CRS 18–18–430

In Colorado, advertising equipment, products, or materials intended for use as drug paraphernalia is a level 2 drug misdemeanor. Under CRS 18-18-430, the penalties for advertising drug paraphernalia include a fine and possible jail time. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

Drug sales paraphernalia
In Colorado, advertising equipment, products, or materials intended for use as drug paraphernalia is a level 2 drug misdemeanor.

1. What is the advertisement of drug paraphernalia?

Any person who advertises and intends to promote the sale of equipment, products, or materials designed and intended for use as drug paraphernalia commits a level 2 drug misdemeanor. This includes advertisements in newspapers, magazines, flyers, or other publications.

This law against advertising drug paraphernalia affects the entire drug chain from initial manufacture to eventual consumption. This may include lab equipment to manufacture drugs, packaging equipment to sell drugs, or a pipe used to smoke a controlled substance.1 Anyone found to advertise any such drug paraphernalia can face criminal charges even if there no actual drugs involved.

Advertising equipment that could be used as drug paraphernalia may not be a violation if the individual did not intend the product to promote the sale of equipment for use as drug paraphernalia. For example, a lab equipment company selling glass vials or pipes to the general science and education community may have only intended their products to be purchased for legitimate uses. Even if someone purchases the product for use as drug paraphernalia, the advertiser may be innocent of criminal charges.

2. What is drug paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia includes the equipment used to inject, inhale, or produce a controlled substance. This may include specialty equipment that is generally only found for use with drugs in a consumer setting. It may also include common household materials used for drugs, such as a rag or a spoon. Drug paraphernalia may include:

  • Purity testing equipment;
  • Scales and balances to measure drugs;
  • Containers used in compounding drugs;
  • Capsules or baggies to package drugs;
  • Containers to hide drugs;
  • Glass pipes;
  • Ceramic or metal pipes;
  • Cocaine vials;
  • Spoons for cooking up heroin; or
  • Rags for huffing or inhaling.

Drug paraphernalia is defined as all equipment, products, and materials of any kind used or designed for use in “planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the laws of Colorado.”2

3. Is marijuana paraphernalia included?

The devices used to smoke, package, or grow marijuana are not considered drug paraphernalia. The materials used for marijuana are called “marijuana accessories.” Marijuana accessories are any equipment, products, or materials which are used in:

  • Planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, or composting marijuana;
  • Manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, or analyzing marijuana;
  • Packaging, repackaging, storing, vaporizing, or containing marijuana; and
  • For ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana into the human body.3

After Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012, the drug laws were changed to differentiate the paraphernalia used for other controlled substances and the accessories used for marijuana. However, there are still restrictions against open advertising of marijuana and marijuana accessories. Rules were developed under the Colorado Retail Marijuana Code, 1 CCR 212-2. These include:

  • Retail marijuana establishments cannot use TV or radio advertising unless there is reliable evidence that no more than 30% of the audience is under 21.4
  • Retail marijuana establishments cannot use print media advertising unless there is reliable evidence that no more than 30% of the audience is under 21.5
  • Retail marijuana establishments shall not engage in deceptive, false, or misleading advertising.6
  • Outdoor advertising is generally prohibited in areas visible to members of the public. 7

4. What are the penalties for advertising drug paraphernalia?

Advertising drug paraphernalia is a class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado. The penalties include the possibility of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Advertising drug paraphernalia may also lead to other criminal penalties. Advertising drug paraphernalia is also associated with the sale, manufacturing, or delivery of drug paraphernalia. Selling drug paraphernalia is a separate criminal offense.

5. Related Offenses

Advertisement of drug paraphernalia may be related to other drug offenses. Selling drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor criminal offense. Even the simple possession of drug paraphernalia is a petty offense, even if no drugs are found.

5.1, C.R.S. 18-18-429 Selling Drug Paraphernalia 

Selling, delivering, or manufacturing equipment reasonably known to produce, inject, or consume drugs is a class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado.8 Under CRS 18-18-429, penalties include 3 to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

5.2, C.R.S. 18-18-428 Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a class 2 petty offense in Colorado.9 Under CRS 18-18-428, possession of meth pipes, scales, purity analyzers, drug containers, cocaine spoons, or other equipment used to inject or produce drugs is punishable by a fine of up to $100. Possession of drug paraphernalia may also give police probable cause to search your body or car for the presence of drugs.

Call us for help...

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If you were arrested for advertising or selling drug paraphernalia, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado defense attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been charged with criminal offenses. We are among the best Colorado criminal defense attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person or in our Denver law office.

Also see our related article on the Colorado crime of making property available for the distribution or manufacture of drugs.


Legal References

  1. C.R.S. 18-18-426
  2. C.R.S. 18-18-426(1)
  3. Colorado Constitution, Article XVIII, Section 16(2)(g)
  4. 1 CCR 212-2, Rules 1104, 1105
  5. 1 CCR 212-2, Rule 1106
  6. 1 CCR 212-2, Rule 1102
  7. 1 CCR 212-2, Rule 1111
  8. C.R.S. 18-18-429
  9. C.R.S. 18-18-428

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