The push for legalizing psychedelics in Colorado
A month after Colorado state officials certified a historic psychedelic leg-islation measure for the state-wide ballot, activists with a separate second campaign are saying it is unlikely their initiative will make it on the ballot. Potential beneficiaries of these bills are hoping they both see the light of day and pass into law.
The Decriminalize Nature Colorado campaign still plans to head to the office of the secretary of state to turn in their signatures for Initiative 61, even while acknowledging the prospects of ballot qualification are incredibly slim. The measure would have removed criminal penalties for possessing, cultivating, gifting, and delivering entheogens such as mescaline, ibogaine, psilocybin, and DMT by adults 21 and older. The initiative would have also made it lawful for psychedelic services to be conducted for spiritual purposes, guidance, therapy, and harm reduction with or without accepting payment. However, it would not be legal to sell any of the psychedelics.
They also plan to put energy into a new campaign to help organize advocacy for communities that could be impacted by Initiative 58, the Natural Medicine Act. It is pretty certain by now that the only reform measure involving psychedelics this year will be the Natural Medicine Act. The Natural Medicine Act would create licensed psilocybin healing centers and certain psychedelics.
The Natural Medicine Act received over 100,000 more signatures than was needed to access the ballot after roughly three months of petitioning. Decriminalized Nature Colorado has not yet released their signature count, but it is expected to fall short of the 124,632 needed.
Decriminalize Nature Colorado felt the need to propose a separate psychedelic initiative because they feel it imposes unnecessary regulations for entheogenic substances. They think that many people were left out of the conversation and that decisions were made without including people and communities that will be impacted by the initiative if it passes.
There are currently 16 other states where psychedelic reform is presently advancing. Some states are trying to legalize low-level possession and access to psychedelic therapies. Other states like Texas are taking baby steps and have already passed laws requiring the state to study the benefits and risks of psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine for military veterans in conjunction with Baylor College of Medicine. The Hawaiian Senate approved a bill to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and develop a long-term plan to ensure that psilocybin is available for medical use to patients 21 and over.
The benefits of psychedelic therapy have been shown to be beneficial to all kinds of users. It has been shown to ease fear and anxiety in cancer patients, ease the effects of PTSD, OCD, and depression that are often resistant to standard medical treatment. Unfortunately, some in the state are opposed to the legislation. Often the opposition comes from individuals who are either uninformed or simply misinformed. Education and understanding are going to be the most important things to change people’s minds. Even if Initiative 58 doesn’t pass, there is a good chance that the next time a psychedelic therapy bill hits the voting floor, it will have the backing of more people than initially thought.