Sale or Distribution of Materials to Manufacture Controlled Substances
CRS 18–18–412.7

In Colorado, the sale or distribution of supplies, equipment, or chemicals to make drugs is a level 2 drug felony. Under CRS 18-18-412.7, the penalties for selling or distributing drug-making materials include possible jail time from 4 to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:

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

1. What is the sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances?

Under Colorado law, it is a felony offense for any person to sell or distribute chemicals, supplies, or equipment, and who knows or reasonably should know or believes that a person intends to use the chemicals, supplies, or equipment to illegally manufacture a controlled substance.1

Selling or distributing materials that you know or reasonably should know are intended to be used to manufacture a controlled substance is a level 2 drug penalty. The penalties for a conviction include from 4 to 16 years in prison.

2. What is a “controlled substance”?

A controlled substance is defined as a drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in schedules I through V under Colorado's drug laws. 2 This includes illegal narcotics and prescription medications. Controlled substances include:

  • Cocaine/Crack
  • Heroin
  • Opioids, including vicodin, fentanyl, and morphine
  • Hallucinogens, including LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin mushrooms
  • Methamphetamines and amphetamines
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Ecstasy/MDMA
  • Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Valium, and GHB

Marijuana is also considered a controlled substance. However, the regulations for marijuana have changed since Colorado legalized medical and recreational marijuana use.

3. What are materials to manufacture controlled substances?

The materials to manufacture a controlled substance includes any equipment, product, or substance used to “produce, prepare, propagate, compound, convert, or process a controlled substance, directly or indirectly, by extraction from substances of natural origin, chemical synthesis, or a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.” 3

Materials may include chemicals to produce or extract a controlled substance and the physical equipment to produce drugs, including:

  • Acetone
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Lithium
  • Methanol
  • Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Aluminum foil
  • Filters
  • Gas cans
  • Propane cylinders
  • Rubber gloves
  • Measuring devices.

Many of the materials used to manufacture a controlled substance include common household materials, including cleaning chemicals and kitchen equipment. The sale or distribution of equipment that could be used to manufacture a controlled substance may not be a violation of the law if the individual did not know or believe a person intended to use to manufacture a controlled substance.

For example, a lab equipment company may sell or distributed distillation equipment, thermometers, beakers, and tempered glassware. There are common scientific and educational uses for this type of lab equipment. An individual may may purchase the products to manufacture drugs from a seller or distributor. However, the seller or distributor may not be in violation of the law unless they knew or reasonably should have known the equipment was to be used in drug manufacturing.

4. Is the sale of materials to manufacture marijuana products included?

Since Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012, marijuana and other controlled substances are generally regulated under separate statutes. Colorado residents over the age of 21 may be able to cultivate small amounts of marijuana for personal use. However, the processing of marijuana concentrate is still highly regulated.

Under CRS 18-18-406.6, it is unlawful for any person not licensed by the state to knowingly manufacture marijuana concentrate using an inherently hazardous substance. This includes the use of butane, propane, or diethyl ether. Manufacturing marijuana concentrate or knowingly allowing marijuana concentrate to be manufactured on one's property is a level 2 drug felony.4

5. What are the penalties for sale or distribution of materials to make drugs?

Sale or distribution of materials to make a controlled substance is a level 2 drug felony in Colorado. The penalties for a level 2 drug felony depend on a number of factors, including the defendant's criminal history. Sentencing ranges are based on whether there are aggravating factors, including the defendant is on parole or probation for another felony.

The penalties for a presumptive level 2 drug felony includes 4 to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. The penalties for an aggravated level 2 drug felony include 8 to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. In addition, a conviction for the sale or distribution of materials to make drugs will result in a mandatory 2 year parole period.

6. Related Offenses

The sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances may be related to other criminal offenses. If the individual is in possession of drug-making materials or is involved in drug manufacturing, they may face additional criminal charges.

6.1, C.R.S. 18-18-412.5 Unlawful Possession of Material to Make Methamphetamines

In Colorado, the possession of materials used to make methamphetamines is a level 2 drug felony. This includes possession of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, or salts and isomers with the intent to use the materials as a precursor to manufacturing a controlled substance is punishable by up to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.5

6.2, C.R.S. 18-18-412.8 Retail Sale of Methamphetamine Precursor Drugs

The sale of methamphetamine precursor drugs is limited in Colorado. It may be a criminal violation to deliver more than the permitted amount of precursor drugs, including ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, within a 24-hour period. Precursor drugs are also not allowed to be accessible by the general public, or delivered to a person under the age of 18.6

Call us for help...

If you were arrested for selling or distributing drug-making materials, 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 drug 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. We can assist with the bail and release process at all Colorado jails, including the La Plata County Jail in Durango.

Legal References

  1. CRS 18-18-412.7
  2. C.R.S. 18-18-102(5)
  3. C.R.S. 18-18-102(17)
  4. C.R.S. 18-18-406.6(3)
  5. C.R.S. 18-18-412.5
  6. C.R.S. 18-18-412.8


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