Justice and Due Process

Colorado Just Became the Second State To Legalize Psilocybin

The text of Colorado’s Measure 122 starts with a bang: “Colorado’s current approach to mental health has failed to fulfill its promise. Coloradans deserve more tools to address mental health issues, including approaches such as natural medicines that are grounded in treatment, recovery, health, and wellness rather than criminalization, stigma, suffering, and punishment.”

Oregon began the trend of psychotherapeutic legalization in 2020 when it passed ballot measure 110, legalizing the possession of small amounts of all drugs. It simultaneously passed ballot measure 109, authorizing the creation of a regulatory framework to commercially grow psilocybin and administer it in a supervised, facilitated setting. The licensing process will go live in January 2023.

Colorado has in some ways gone farther by narrowly passing ballot measure 122. 

Colorado’s latest measure legalizes not only possessing psilocybin, but also growing psilocybin-containing mushrooms at home and giving them to others. 

Measure 122 also allows Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies to legalize other psychedelics including DMT (the active ingredient in ayahuasca), ibogaine (a psychoactive plant), and mescaline (active ingredient in peyote and other psychoactive cacti) as early as 2026.

Like Oregon, Colorado has authorized the creation of a regulatory framework to permit trained facilitators to administer psilocybin in licensed “healing centers.” However, this won’t occur until 2024. 

Colorado has included many safeguards. Only adults aged twenty-one and older can use psilocybin. Permitting minors to access psilocybin is still prohibited as is driving while under their influence, taking them to schools, or using them in public. 

The commercial administration of psilocybin has been well thought out. Facilitators will be trained in safety, contraindications, and the importance of mental state and the physical environment in which psilocybin is consumed. Healing centers will be subject to record keeping and oversight requirements, marketing standards, and security measures. 

Tens of thousands of Americans are suffering from poor mental health—most outside the boundaries of Colorado. Let’s hope that other states follow the example Oregon and Colorado have set.