Via the Natural Medicine Colorado campaign, state activists presented 222,648 signatures supporting Initiative 58 to place the psychedelics legalization bill and to create licensed psilocybin therapeutic centers on the upcoming ballot.
Signatures still need to be verified, but given it requires about 125,000 signatures to qualify, advocates are in high spirits regarding the possibility of voting on the measure next fall.
If approved, the Natural Medicine Health Act would allow for a legal mushroom market set by Colorado regulators for the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transport, sales and purchase of psilocybin and psilocyn.
The bill would also establish a therapeutic model for monitored psilocybin treatment – qualifications, education and training requirements to be defined by state regulators – and permit record sealing for prior convictions.
Moreover, the proposal expands decriminalization for possession, use and gifting of a still-undefined “personal amount” of psychedelic substances DMT, ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), psilocibyn and psilocyn.
The measure calls for regulations to be ready and license applications accepted by Sept. 30, 2024. There would be a possibility to add the other psychedelic substances to the Regulated Natural Medicine Access Program after June 1, 2026. That final call would be in the hands of the Department of Regulatory Agencies in consultation with a newly created Natural Medicine Advisory Board.
“This is new for Colorado. I think two years for the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and the advisory board to develop something for psilocybin is an excellent timeframe,” Natural Medicine Colorado leader Veronica Perez explained. The campaign seeks an incremental start, with one substance strongly backed by scientific evidence, so as not to overwhelm regulators with five different psychedelics, which require different applications.
On a federal level, if the bill goes through, it would make Colorado the second state to legalize magic mushroom therapy after Oregon.
Colorado activists are deeply concerned with the statewide mental health scenario. “There are a lot of people in Colorado who have been harmed by the health care system and they’re not going to be the ones who can get access through healing centers. They want to sit with a wisdom keeper or a sitter in their home. Then we also have a regulated model for those who do want the guardrails,” explained Perez. “That’s what makes the measure so beautiful is we’re meeting the most amount of people where they’re at.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis acknowledges the potential of psychedelics and is in favor of reform, as seen in his recent decision to legalize MDMA therapeutic prescriptions, if and when federally approved.
Photo Courtesy of Artur Kornakov on Unsplash.