H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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2012 Colorado Law Criminalizes and Bans “Bath Salts”

In June of 2012 Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill outlawing the use of cathinones, commonly referred to as “bath salts.”

What have been called the most dangerous and addictive drugs to hit Colorado in many years, the Colorado State Legislature passed the new law very quickly. One must ask why?

The new law, passed and enacted on the signature of the Governor creates a criminal penalty for the possession of cathinones, the dangerous chemical used in bath salts.

It also creates a penalty for anyone who distributes, manufactures, sells or purchases cathinone products.

What are Bath Salts?

“Bath salts’ produce a high similar to cocaine or ecstasy, were legally available at so called Colorado “head shops” – alongside bongs, pipes, hookahs and other drug paraphernalia.

They can cause paranoia, hallucinations and aggressive behavior. The State Legislator who sponsored the law stated: “Bath salts are a dangerous substance that puts users into a psychotic state,” (said Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Durango), “They’re cheap, accessible and extremely destructive.”

Bath salts-(a synthetic drug) are still readily available online. They were first popular in the South and Midwest and only recently became popular in the Northeast. The highly-addictive drug may be snorted or injected and the high can reportedly last between 20 minutes and four hours.

Bath salts are generally considered to be synthetic amphetamines.

The symptoms of all types of bath salts tend to be the same. Users may become agitated or paranoid, have critically high temperatures and blood pressure, and suffer from delusions, schizophrenia, hallucinations and muscle and kidney problems after coming down from the high.

The level of drug charge that bath salt possession brings can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case as well as the defendant’s previous record.

A Colorado drug crimes defense lawyer must analyze each case differently. First – can the charges can be dropped or substantially reduced given the recent changes to the law.

If not, for those who are charged with their first offense, resolution of these cases may need to involve drug treatment programs and other measures. If it is a subsequent offense, it would be important for a defense attorney to consider taking a hard line in every respect and to take the matter to trial.