Section 18-18-412.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) makes it a Colorado level 2 drug felony to possess ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine, or their salts, isomers, or salts of isomers, with the intent to use such product as an immediate precursor in the manufacture of any controlled substance.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are substances commonly found in over-the-counter cold medicines such as Sudafed. Phenylpropanolamine was an ingredient frequently used in both over-the-counter and prescription cough and cold medications and in weight loss products such as Acutrim and Dexatrim. However, since a 2015 Food and Drug Administration public health warning about an increased risk of hemorrhagic strokes due to phenylpropanolamine, use of the product has been largely discontinued.
Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine can be used to manufacture methamphetamine and amphetamine, drugs that are illegal in the state of Colorado. As a result, the purchase of over-the-counter cold medicines and decongestants is highly regulated. This means you can be arrested and charged with possession under 18-18-412.5 C.R.S. simply for buying cold medicine in an amount that seems suspicious
Punishment for possession of meth and amphetamine precursors
Given the rise in the abuse of meth and amphetamines, possessing precursors to meth in Colorado is a particularly serious charge. Possession of meth precursors is a Colorado level 2 drug felony with penalties that can include:
- 4-8 years in prison (with 2 years mandatory parole), and/or
- A fine of $3,000-$750,000.
However, if you are subject to Colorado's aggravated drug sentencing (e.g., because you are on parole for a felony), the consequences of amphetamine precursor possession can include as much as 16 years in prison.
Defenses to meth precursor possession
Fortunately, there are a number of effective defenses to charges of possessing drug precursors under 18-18-412.5 C.R.S. These include (but are not limited to):
- You were legitimately buying the medications to treat a cold or flu, or for weight loss,
- The drugs weren't yours,
- You didn't know you possessed the medicine,
- You had no intent of using the product(s) to manufacture a controlled substance, or
- The drugs were found during an illegal search and seizure in violation of your rights under the Fourth Amendment.
Call us for help…
Possession of meth or amphetamine precursors is a serious charge with serious felony consequences.
But our caring Colorado criminal defense lawyers know that there are many reasons why you might possess a medication containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine – not the least of which is because your family had the flu.
If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of meth precursors or any other Colorado drug crime, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Simply fill out the form on this page or call our Denver home office to schedule an in-person or telephone consultation. One of our experienced Colorado drug defense lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss your case and the best defenses to your meth precursor possession charges.
Communities our criminal attorneys serve include Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, Thornton, Arvada, Westminster, Centennial and Boulder. Our lawyers can help to secure bail and OR release at any of the state's jails, including the San Miguel County Jail in Telluride.
In Denver, our home office can be found at:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
1400 16th Street Ste. 400
16 Market Square
Denver CO 80202