Newsbrief: "What About the Children?" -- Colorado Bills Target Home Meth Labs 12/27/02

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Three bills targeting home methamphetamine labs were unveiled in a ceremony at the Colorado State Capitol on December 17. Touted by Colorado Gov. Bill Owens (R) and enjoying bipartisan support, the three-bill package would increase penalties for parents who manufacture meth in home labs and for businesses that knowingly sell the legal ingredients for the drug's manufacture.

The first bill, sponsored by Rep. Pam Rhodes (R-Thornton), would make it felony child abuse to manufacture drugs in a home with children. While the bill is portrayed as an anti-meth measure, there are no indications from press reports whether it is limited to methamphetamines -- or whether it could be used to persecute someone growing a marijuana plant. (The bills are not yet posted at the Colorado legislature web site.) Under the proposed new law, violators would face a prison sentence of four to 12 years.

The second bill, sponsored by Rep. Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) and Sen. Ken Arnold (R-Westminster), would make it easier for state authorities to remove children from the homes of suspected meth cooks. The proposed new law would allow prosecutors to charge meth-cooking parents with child neglect in civil -- rather than criminal -- court, thus lowering the burden of proof required for the state to seize children.

The third bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim Fritz (R-Loveland) and Sen. Jim Dyer (R-Centennial), would make it a misdemeanor to "knowingly" sell chemicals used to make methamphetamine. But because the ingredients for meth-making are so common, it may prove difficult to win convictions, officials conceded at the news conference announcing the package.

According to state officials at the news conference, the number of meth lab busts in Colorado has increased from 150 in 1999 to 264 in 2000 and 452 last year. They expected the number for this year to follow the upward trend, they said.

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Issue #269, 12/27/02 Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: New Zealand MP Tanczos Cleared in Marijuana Probe | Newsbrief: Nevada High Court Voids Meth Drug Ingredient Law | Newsbrief: "What About the Children?" -- Colorado Bills Target Home Meth Labs | Newsbrief: Ohio Supreme Court Backs Workers in Workers' Comp Drug Test Ruling | Newsbrief: Brit MP Calls for Drug Testing 10-Year-Olds, Comments Came in Debate Over Criminal Justice Bill | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: US-Trained Thai Drug Unit Pulls Back from Burmese Border | Newsbrief: Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Petition Has Enough Signatures | Newsbrief: Tampa Ordinance Would Criminalize "Drug Dealer Behavior" | Newsbrief: Drug Checkpoints at West Virginia NORML Rally Draw Lawsuit | Online Petition Launched Supporting MEPs' Call for Ending Prohibition | Media Scan: Montreal Compassion Club, Impact Press on Marijuana Legalization | DC Job Opportunities at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar

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