Colorado Voters Approve Decriminalization of 5 Natural Psychedelics
Colorado voters this week passed the broadest reform of psychedelic drug policy ever approved in the United States. With 88 percent of ballots counted as of Wednesday night, 51 percent of voters had said yes to Proposition 122, which decriminalizes noncommercial activities related to the use of “natural medicine” by adults 21 or older. That term covers five psychedelics found in plants or fungi, some or all of which will eventually be available at state-licensed “healing centers.”
“This is a truly historic moment,” said the leaders of the Yes on 122 campaign. “Colorado voters saw the benefit of regulated access to natural medicines, including psilocybin, so people with PTSD, terminal illness, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can heal. We look forward to working with the regulatory and medical experts and other stakeholders to implement this new law.”
The initiative defines “natural medicine” to include psilocybin, psilocyn (another psychoactive component of “magic mushrooms”), dimethyltryptamine (DMT, the active ingredient in ayahuasca), ibogaine (a psychedelic derived from the root bark of the iboga tree), and mescaline (the active ingredient in peyote). The covered activities include “growing, cultivating, or processing plants or fungi capable of producing natural medicine for personal use.” The initiative also eliminates civil and criminal penalties for possessing, storing, using, transporting, or obtaining the listed psychedelics or distributing them to adults 21 or older “without remuneration.”
All of the psychedelics covered by Proposition 122 are currently classified as Schedule I controlled substances under state law. Possession of four grams or less for personal use is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, while possession of larger amounts is a felony, as is manufacture or distribution. Manufacturing or distributing 14 grams or less, for example, is a Level 3 drug felony, punishable by a fine of $2,000 to $500,000 and two to four years in prison.
In addition to eliminating penalties for conduct related to personal use of “natural medicine,” Proposition 122 aims to establish a system of supervised administration at state-licensed “healing centers.” That plan is similar to what Oregonians approved in 2020, when they passed a ballot initiative that will allow adults 21 or older to use psilocybin in state-licensed “service centers” under the supervision of “facilitators.”
Proposition 122 requires the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies to start accepting applications for healing center licenses by September 30, 2024. But the decriminalization provisions take effect after the governor recognizes the election results by proclamation or 30 days after the official canvass. Those provisions apply to a wider range of substances than Oregon’s law, and they go much further than a groundbreaking initiative that Denver voters approved in 2019, which made adult possession
Article from Reason.com