Colorado Voters Get Chance to Legalize Psychedelics in November

Colorado Voters Get Chance to Legalize Psychedelics in November

Colorado State FlagBy Brad Dunn —

Mental health advocates in Colorado have gained enough support to add an initiative to the November ballot that would legalize certain psychedelic plants and fungi statewide.

The Natural Medicine Colorado campaign collected enough signatures to support its effort to decriminalize ibogaine, psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline (excluding peyote) and to establish a regulatory framework for psychedelic treatment centers. About 124,000 signatures were required to make the ballot; the campaign gathered 138,000 after three months of petitioning.

“This initiative would give Coloradans access to a new, promising, and research-based treatment option for PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges, in a safe, careful, and beneficial way,” said Keven Matthews, coalition director for Natural Medicine Colorado. “These medicines can be transformative for people who have suffered for years and struggled to find help.”

If the bill passes in November, it would:

  • Legalize for adults 21 and older the possession, use, cultivation and gifting of psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline that’s not derived from peyote. (The initiative has no recreational sales component.)
  • Make the Department of Regulatory Agencies develop rules for licensing psychedelic therapy centers where adults can receive treatment from trained therapists.
  • Allow people who have been convicted of crimes related to these psychedelics to petition the courts to have their records sealed and/or cleared.

If passed, the therapeutic component of the initiative would have a two-step implementation. First, therapy centers would be able to use two of the substances — psilocybin and psilocin — until June 1, 2026. After that date, regulators could decide whether to also permit regulated therapeutic use of DMT, ibogaine and mescaline.

Natural Medicine Colorado sponsored the initiative with the support of New Approach PAC, which contributed more than $2.5 million to the campaign.

Meanwhile, a different psychedelics advocacy group has launched its own competing initiative. The campaign put forth by Decriminalize Nature Colorado aims simply to legalize the possession, cultivation, giftingand delivery of the five psychedelics — without the therapeutic licensing program. The group is still petitioning for signatures.

In 2019, Denver became the first city in the nation to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. The passage of Initiated Ordinance 301 made the adult possession and use of psilocybin the lowest law enforcement priority and prohibited the city from spending resources on enforcing related penalties.


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