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Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

As explained by Colorado’s standard jury instructions, the elements of the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia in § 18-18-428(1), C.R.S., include:

  1. That the defendant;
  2. In the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged;
  3. Knowingly;
  4. Possessed drug paraphernalia; and
  5. Knew or reasonably should have known that the drug paraphernalia could be used under circumstances to commit a controlled substance offense.

Section 18-18-427(1), C.R.S., lists several factors that a court may consider in determining whether an object is drug paraphernalia. For example, Section 18-18-427(2) states that:

“In the event a case brought pursuant to sections 18-18-425 to 18-18-430 is tried before a jury, the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing on issues raised pursuant to this section.  Such hearing shall be conducted in camera.”

As explained in § 18-18-426(2), C.R.S., the term “drug paraphernalia’” does not include any marijuana accessories as defined in section 16(2)(g) of article XVIII of the state constitution.”

Attorney for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Denver, CO

If you were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, or related crimes for manufacturing, selling, or distributing drug paraphernalia, then contact attorney Matthew Martin. With over two decades of trial experience, defense attorney Martin has the knowledge and practice needed to effectively defend you. Plus his work as a prosecutor for over 13 years puts him in a unique position where he can understand what the district attorney strategy is and then counter it.

Call (303) 725-0017 to set up your first consultation today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver area including Jefferson County, Douglas County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, and Broomfield County.

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Legal Definitions of Drug Paraphernalia in Colorado

The term “drug paraphernalia” is defined in Instruction F:113 as follows:

  • All equipment, products, and materials of any kind
  • That are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the laws of this state.

The term “drug paraphernalia” is defined to include, but is not limited to:

  • Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body;
  • Containers and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in storing or concealing controlled substances;
  • Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;
  • Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
  • Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
  • Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;

The term “drug paraphernalia” also does not include testing equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in identifying or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of controlled substances.


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Affirmative Defenses for Drug Paraphernalia Crimes

Affirmative defenses include “reporting an emergency drug or alcohol overdose event” as explained in Instruction H:32.

Section 18-18-430.5, C.R.S. 2019, establishes an exemption for any person “participating as an employee, volunteer, or participant in an approved syringe exchange program created pursuant to section 25-1-520, C.R.S.”

Section 18-18-428(1)(b), C.R.S. 2019, establishes an exemption from criminal liability for “any minuscule, residual controlled substance that may be present in a used hypodermic needle or syringe” if the location of the needle or syringe is disclosed in specified circumstances.


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Manufacture, Sale, or Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia

Colorado’s standard jury instructions set out the elements prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or delivery of drug paraphernalia under § 18-18-429, C.R.S. The following elements must be proven at trial beyond all reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant;
  2. In the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged;
  3. Knowingly;
  4. Sold or delivered, or possessed or manufactured with the intent to sell or deliver;
  5. Equipment, products, or materials;
  6. Knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should have known, that the equipment, products, or materials could be used as drug paraphernalia.

For purposes of crimes prohibiting the manufacture of drug paraphernalia, the term manufacture is defined in Instruction F:206 as:

“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.”

The term manufacture does not include the preparation, compounding, packaging, repackaging, labeling, or relabeling of a controlled substance by:

  • a practitioner as an incident to the practitioner’s administering or dispensing of a controlled substance in the course of the practitioner’s professional practice; or
  • a practitioner, or by the practitioner’s authorized agent under the practitioner’s supervision, for the purpose of, or as an incident to, research, teaching, or chemical analysis and not for sale.

For purposes of crimes prohibiting the sale of drug paraphernalia, the term “sale” is defined in Instruction F:327 to include:

“a barter, an exchange, or a gift, or an offer therefor, and each such transaction made by any person, whether as the principal, proprietor, agent, servant, or employee, with or without remuneration.”


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Crimes for Advertisement of Drug Paraphernalia

The standard jury instructions in Colorado lists the following elements for the crime of advertisement of drug paraphernalia:

  1. That the defendant;
  2. In the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged;
  3. Placed an advertisement in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication; and
  4. Intended thereby to promote the sale in Colorado of equipment, products, or materials designed and intended for use as drug paraphernalia.

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Additional Resources

 Drug Paraphernalia Laws in CO | CRS – Visit the official website for the Colorado Revised Statutes to read up on their laws for drug crimes including possession of drug paraphernalia. Access the site to read up on the penalties, elements, admissible defenses, and other information you may deem to be valuable.

Drug Paraphernalia | DEA – Visit the official website for Get Smart About Drugs, an initiative started and run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Access the site to learn more about how to identify different types of paraphernalia including those for marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or ecstasy/MDMA/molly.


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Drug Paraphernalia Defense Lawyer in Denver, CO

If you or someone you love has been arrested for possessing drug paraphernalia, we urge you to get in contact with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C.. Drug defense attorney Matthew Martin has years of experience he can apply to your case as well as a passionate dedication to what he does. He can file motions, suppress evidence, call upon expert witnesses, and do whatever necessary to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Call (303) 725-0017 to set up your first consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. for free.