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Colorado House approves bill that tightens penalties for low-level possession, distribution of fentanyl

The bill would make it a felony to possess more than one gram of compound fentanyl, which is fentanyl mixed with other drugs.

DENVER — The Colorado House of Representatives approved a bill Friday evening to address the state's growing fentanyl crisis following another hours-long debate that focused on whether possessing the substance in any amount or form should be a felony.

For now, the balance of Colorado's House members said no.

After five hours of debate, legislators, who worked into the night, approved House Bill 1326, which, in its most current version, tightens criminal penalties for distributing any amount of the drug and for dealers whose pills kill someone and makes it a felony to possess anything more than 1 gram of it in any form. It also sets aside millions to pay for medicine to reverse overdoses and test substances for fentanyl, while establishing education programs and advocating for a key treatment protocol in incarceration settings.

RELATED: Colorado House committee passes fentanyl bill

The bill, which still needs the full House's final vote, is a comprehensive but not final approach to addressing fentanyl, said House Speaker Alec Garnett of Denver and Rep. Mike Lynch, a Wellington Republican, who co-sponsored the legislation. 

Read the full story at the Denver Gazette.

RELATED: More kids ages 10 - 18 are dying from fentanyl overdoses in Colorado

RELATED: El Paso County fentanyl deaths doubled in 2021

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