Colorado to vote on legalization of psychedelic mushrooms in November

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Voters in Colorado will have a say in the legalization of psychedelic drugs in November as an initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms and other naturally occurring psychedelics appears on the ballot ahead of the general election.

Known as the Natural Medicine Health Act (NMHA), the proposal would prohibit the cultivation, production, testing, transportation, sale, and purchase of psilocybin and psilocin, the psychoactive compounds in “magic mushrooms,” and other natural psychedelic drugs, including dimethyltryptamine (DMT). , legalize. ), ibogaine and mescaline not derived from peyote.

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The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced in July that Natural Medicine Colorado had gathered enough signatures to qualify the NMHA proposal for the November vote. The proposal, previously referred to as Initiative 58, will appear on general election ballots as Proposition 122. Supporters of Initiative 61, a separate proposal that would legalize natural psychedelics in Colorado without creating a pathway for commercialization, failed. to collect enough signatures to be eligible for the vote.

Activists gathered more than 100,000 signatures more than was necessary for the NMHA to qualify for the vote. Natural Medicine Colorado received support from New Approach PAC, a political action committee that advocates nationwide drug policy and criminal justice reform initiatives.

“We are extremely proud of the work that has led to this moment,” Kevin Matthews, a designated representative for the initiative, said in a press release quoted by Marijuana Moment. “These drugs hold promise for people struggling with PTSD, depression, and other mental health conditions.”

“As we deal with a growing mental health crisis in our state, we need new tools to help cure Coloradans, and these are research-backed therapies that can work even where other treatments have failed,” added Matthews, who also served as campaign manager. for a psilocybin decriminalization initiative approved by voters in Denver in 2019.

Healing centers would release psychedelics

If voters approve the NMHA in November’s general election, the psychedelic drugs legalized by the measure would be available only at accredited “cure centers,” which would be regulated by the state. Unlike a similar ordinance passed by voters in Oregon in 2020, local governments would not have the power to ban healing centers from their jurisdictions.

Realm of Caring, a nonprofit based in Colorado Springs, supports cannabis medical research and is now including psilocybin in its efforts. Matthew X. Lowe Ph.D., director of research at Realm of Caring partner Unlimited Sciences, says there are numerous health and wellness benefits “that come from consuming psilocybin.”

“Pre-industrial Mesoamerican cultures have used psilocybin in ritualized contexts for thousands of years to enhance psychotherapeutic healing, religious understanding and self-examination,” he writes in an email. “In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of psilocybin in the treatment of a range of different psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, suicidality, substance use disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among others.”

“Psilocybin consumption has now been consistently associated with antidepressant and anxiolytic effects and is being considered for the treatment of depression and anxiety,” Lowe continues. “In fact, a recent study found that reduced brain modularity after psilocybin therapy was correlated with improvements in depressive symptoms and outcomes compared to a commonly prescribed” antidepressant.

Proposition 122 follows the passage of Ballot Paper 109 in Oregon in 2020, which legalized the therapeutic use of psilocybin. Another ballot measure that decriminalized small amounts of all drugs was also approved by state voters during the election. State regulators are still drafting rules to implement ballot measure 109.

Vancouver’s Filament Health, a clinical stage natural psychedelic drug development company, has stabilized and isolated psilocin, the active ingredient in psilocybin. CEO Ben Lightburn says the company plans to bring the psychedelic drug to the US once states like Colorado create a welcome regulatory environment.

“People have ingested psilocybin-containing ‘magic’ mushrooms for millennia, so an anecdotal record of their safety already exists,” Lightburn writes. “Our goal at Filament is to demonstrate both the safety and efficacy of botanical psychedelic drug candidates in the first FDA-approved human clinical trials administering natural psychedelics. We are hopeful that modern scientific evidence that psilocybin can effectively treat many modern health problems – including substance use disorders, chronic pain and depression – will help Coloradans normalize this mushroom and enjoy its benefits.”

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