Colorado activists hand over signatures to put on the ballot the legalization of psychedelics and the therapeutic psilocybin program

Colorado activists announced on Monday that they had submitted what they believe were more than enough signatures to place a measure on the state ballot that would legalize psychedelics and create “healing centers” in licensed psilocybin where people can use the substance for therapeutic purposes.

The Natural Medicine Colorado Campaign, which is supported by the National New Approach PAC, said it delivered 222,648 signatures to the secretary of state’s office. Activists only need 124,632 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The measure would legalize possession of certain psychedelics, establish a therapeutic model for supervised psilocybin treatment, and provide a pathway for the sealing of records for prior convictions.

“This initiative would give Colorans access to a promising, research-based new treatment option for PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues in a safe, careful, and beneficial way,” Kevin Matthews, a designated representative for the initiative that spearheaded Denver’s historic 2019 campaign to decriminalize psilocybin, said in a press release.

“These drugs can be life-changing for people who have suffered for years and are struggling to find help,” he said.

Activists were able to collect the significant number of signatures, which they independently verified throughout the process, within about three months of the state’s approval of the traffic.

“The Natural Medicine Health Act puts the well-being of patients and communities first,” said Josh Kappel, president of the Natural Medicine Colorado campaign. “It was purposefully designed, with a multi-phased implementation process that establishes clear safety rules, while allowing the details of the regulatory structure to be developed by the community and regulators working together.”

This is what the Natural Medicine Health Act initiative would accomplish:

Possession, use, cultivation, and sharing of psilocybin, ibogaine, mescaline (not peyote-derived), DMT, and psilocyne would be legalized for adults 21 and older, with no explicit possession limit. There would be no recreational sales component.

Under the proposal, the Department of Regulatory Agencies would be responsible for developing rules for a psychedelic therapy program where adults 21 and older could visit a licensed healing center to receive treatment under the guidance of a trained facilitator.

There would be a two-tier regulatory model, where only psilocybin and psilocyn would be allowed for therapeutic use in licensed healing centers until June 2026. After that date, regulators could decide to also allow use regulated therapy of DMT, ibogaine and mescaline.

The decision to add additional substances to the program would be made by the Department of Regulatory Agencies in consultation with a new 15-member Natural Medicine Advisory Board that includes people with experience of psychedelic medicine in a scientific and religious context.

People who have served their sentence for a conviction related to an offense made legal under the law could ask the courts to seal their record. If there is no objection from the district attorney, the court should automatically expunge this file.

“I am moved to lead this ballot initiative because my life’s work is to help alleviate suffering where I can and to remind people how strong they really are,” said Veronica Perez, co. – designated representative for the measure. “The Natural Medicine Health Act can help do just that. So many people could finally get the help they need and ask for.

Matthews agreed, saying “every one of us knows someone who is struggling” and “we just can’t turn our backs on the potential of this treatment and the people it could help.”

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Meanwhile, a separate campaign led by Decriminalize Nature Colorado, which challenged some of the regulations mandated in the Natural Medicine Colorado measure, filed a competing initiative in January, and activists are also making progress in collecting signatures.

The one-page measure of this campaign would simply allow adults 21 and older to own, grow, gift, and deliver psilocybin, psilocyn, ibogaine, mescaline, and DMT.

In addition, the proposal indicates that it would be legal to provide psychedelic services for counseling, therapy and harm reduction and spiritual purposes with or without acceptance of payment. However, it would not be legal to sell any of the psychedelics.

Meanwhile, Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) was recently asked about the prospects for reforming psychedelics in the state, and he acknowledged that advocates were working to accomplish this policy change during poll and also said he supports the idea of ​​decriminalizing substances. .

Earlier this month, Polis signed a bill to bring state law into line with legalizing MDMA prescriptions if and when the federal government finally permits such use.

Colorado is far from the only state where psychedelic legislation is making progress.

The leader of the New Jersey Senate introduced a bill last week that would legalize the possession, home cultivation and donation of psilocybin mushrooms for adults 21 and older, with provisions that give adults even more more freedoms for psychedelics than those afforded by the state’s current marijuana. laws.

Connecticut’s governor signed a sweeping budget bill in May that includes provisions to allow the state to provide certain patients with access to psychedelic-assisted treatment using substances like MDMA and psilocybin.

The Governor of Maryland recently allowed a bill to pass without his signature to create a state fund to provide “free” access to psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine to elders. fighters with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. wound.

A Massachusetts-based campaign, Bay Staters for National Medicine (BSNM), is also supporting a statewide reform campaign to force state lawmakers to introduce legislation to both legalize substances entheogens for therapeutic use and to decriminalize certain psychedelics.

The Maine Senate approved a bill in April to create a medical psilocybin program in the state, but the House of Representatives declined to follow suit.

Also that month, Georgia lawmakers advanced a bipartisan resolution that calls for the formation of a House Study Committee to investigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and make recommendations for reform.

The governor of Utah in March signed a bill to create a task force to study and make recommendations on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs and possible regulations for their legal use.

A Missouri House committee also held a hearing that month on a GOP-led bill to legalize a wide range of psychedelics for therapeutic use in designated care facilities while further decriminalizing possession of weak drugs. general level.

The Washington State Legislature recently sent a budget bill to the governor’s office that includes a $200,000 funding proposal to support a new task force to study the possibility of legalizing psilocybin services in state, including the idea of ​​using current marijuana regulatory systems to track psychedelic mushrooms.

In March, Hawaii’s Senate 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 the psychedelic is accessible to all. medical use for adults 21 years and older.

Also that month, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize low-level possession of psilocybin and promote research into the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.

Rhode Island lawmakers introduced a pair of drug decriminalization bills in March, including one focused on psilocybin and buprenorphine that would allow doctors to prescribe the psychedelic mushroom.

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.

A bill to decriminalize a wide range of psychedelic substances in Virginia was considered by a House of Delegates panel in January, only to be pushed back until 2023. A separate Senate proposal to decriminalize psilocybin alone went on to was 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 in January that would legalize what the bill calls “supported psilocybin experiments” by adults 21 and older.

New Hampshire lawmakers have introduced measures to decriminalize psilocybin and all drugs.

Legislation was also enacted by the Texas legislature last year requiring the state to study the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for military veterans in partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine and a military medical center.

At the congressional level, bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the DEA in January urging the agency to allow terminally ill patients to use psilocybin as an experimental treatment without fear of federal prosecution.

Activists and patients were recently arrested at DEA headquarters after engaging in civil disobedience during a protest against the agency’s refusal to provide a waiver granting such patients access to psilocybin in under right to try laws.

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