Colorado officials endorsed the language of two other psychedelics reform initiatives from the same campaign that have already taken that procedural step for two separate measures it submitted late last year, activists say.
Now it’s decision time. Although all four proposals share commonalities – primarily, ending the criminalization of people for using certain entheogenic substances and providing a pathway for entry – activists must decide which has the best chance of being endorsed by the voters in November and would best meet the needs of Coloradans.
On Thursday, the Secretary of State’s office approved the final two measures, about a week after the Voting Titles Definition Commission held a hearing on language and awarded titles and abstracts. Activists will need to collect 124,632 valid signatures from registered voters to gain access to the ballot.
Kevin Matthews, the campaign manager behind Denver’s historic 2019 vote to decriminalize psilocybin locally, and Veronica Perez are the designated representatives of these measures, which are supported by the national New Approach PAC.
“It’s the culmination of years of advocacy for me and the excitement in the air is palpable,” Matthews told Marijuana Moment. “We look forward to educating Colorado voters about the potential of regulated access to natural medicines to help address mental health issues.”
“Speaking directly with Denver residents about psilocybin was my favorite part of our campaign in 2019, but Denver is not Colorado,” he said. “Statewide advocacy is a very different experience, and the opportunity to connect with people across the state who otherwise might not view natural medicines as a tool for health and mental well-being is an exciting challenge.”
The two newly approved measures are similar to each other. They would both legalize psilocybin and create licensed “healing centers” where people could use the psychedelic for therapeutic purposes.
Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters by pledging at least $25/month, access our interactive maps, charts, and audience calendar so they don’t miss a thing.
Learn more about our Marijuana Bill Tracker and become a support on Patreon to gain access.
There would be a two-tier regulatory model, where only psilocybin would be legalized and regulated for therapeutic use until June 2026, after which regulators could expand the policy change to include other psychedelics listed in the proposal.
The decision to add additional psychedelics to the program would be made by the Department of Regulatory Agencies in consultation with a Natural Medicine Advisory Board that would be established. The council would consist of 15 members, including people with experience of psychedelic medicine in a scientific and religious context.
The main difference between the two is that one contains an element specifically allowing people to ask the courts to seal records of previous convictions that would be made legal under the proposal.
According to the proposals, the Department of Regulatory Agencies would be responsible for developing rules for a psychedelic therapy program where adults aged 21 and over could visit a licensed ‘healing centre’ to receive treatment under the guidance of a facilitator. qualified.
Meanwhile, New Approach PAC has not abandoned the previous two measures that removed procedural hurdles late last year.
The first of these earlier initiatives would legalize the possession, cultivation, and range of entheogenic substances, as well as establish a regulatory model for psychedelic therapy. The other is a similar but slightly more complicated proposal that would initially legalize psilocybin and psilocin alone for personal use by an adult while allowing their sale and administration in a therapeutic setting.
When deciding which measure to pursue ultimately, Matthews said the most important factor is “what we believe will work for Colorado residents, as they will be the most affected by this policy and will have safe access to natural medicines if we make it through November.”
There is another wrinkle in the push for statewide psychedelic reform in Colorado. A separate campaign by Decriminalize Nature Boulder County, which challenged the regulations mandated in the aforementioned measures supported by the new approach, filed a competing initiative last month.
This one-page measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess, grow, offer and deliver psilocybin, psilocyn, ibogaine, mescaline and DMT.
Additionally, the measure states that it would be legal to provide psychedelic services for counseling, therapy and harm reduction and spiritual purposes with or without payment. However, it would not be legal to sell any of the psychedelics.
The initiative must still be assigned an official voting title and state summary before activists are approved to begin collecting signatures. He has a audience scheduled before the polling station committee on March 2.
Proponents of the measure have criticized the New Approach initiative, expressing concern about the level of regulation that would go into the proposed treatment model.
Matthews said the criticism “is in good faith, but we are focused on the urgent mental and behavioral health needs facing Colorado residents.”
“What we offer with [the Natural Medicine Health Act] will make natural medicines truly and safely accessible to all Coloradans,” he said.
Colorado’s ballot initiatives seek to accomplish something similar to what California activists are also actively pursuing. California advocates are collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms in the state.
Meanwhile, legislative efforts to enact psychedelic reform are also underway in other states across the country.
For example, two Hawaii Senate committees recently approved a bill to create a state task force to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and develop a “long-term” plan to ensure that the psychedelic is accessible for medical use for adults 21 and older.
A Utah Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill passed by the House to create a task force to study and make recommendations on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs and possible regulations for their legal use.
An Oregon Senate committee also recently introduced a bill to ensure fairness is built into the state’s landmark psilocybin therapeutic program that is being actively implemented after voter approval in 2020.
Oklahoma lawmakers approved a bill in committee last week to decriminalize low-level possession of psilocybin and promote research into the psychedelic’s therapeutic potential.
A group of Maryland senators recently introduced a bill that would create a state fund that could be used to provide free access to psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine to military veterans with stress disorder. (PTSD), while supporting research into their therapeutic potential.
A Republican lawmaker in Missouri introduced a bill last month to give residents with serious illnesses legal access to a range of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, ibogaine and LSD through an expanded version of the existing law. of the state on the right to try.
A bill to decriminalize a wide range of psychedelic substances in Virginia was considered by a House of Delegates panel last month, only to be pushed back until 2023. A separate Senate proposal to decriminalize psilocybin alone has then rejected by a key committee.
California Senator Scott Wiener (D) told Marijuana Moment in a recent interview that his bill to legalize possession of psychedelics has a 50/50 chance of reaching the governor’s office this year. He has already authorized the entire Senate and two Assembly committees during the first half of the two-year session.
Washington state lawmakers also introduced legislation last month that would legalize what the bill calls “supported psilocybin experiments” by adults 21 and older.
New Hampshire lawmakers have tabled measures to decriminalize psilocybin and all drugs.
Last year, Connecticut’s governor signed a law that includes language requiring the state to conduct a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
Similar legislation was also enacted by the Texas legislature, requiring the state to study the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for veterans in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine and a military medical center.
Michigan activists filed a statewide ballot initiative this month that would legalize the possession, cultivation and sharing of psychedelics and establish a system for their therapeutic and spiritual use.
A pair of Michigan senators also introduced a bill in September to legalize the possession, cultivation and delivery of an array of plant and mushroom-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline.
At the congressional level, bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last month urging the agency to allow terminally ill patients to use psilocybin as an experimental treatment without fear of federal prosecution.
South Dakota Senate approves marijuana legalization and delisting bills, while House rejects tax measure
Photo courtesy of Dick Culbert.