In a groundbreaking stride toward progressive drug policies, Colorado emerges as a beacon of change on the psychedelic horizon for those interested in exploring their transcendent and healing potential.
With the passage of the Natural Medicine Health Act (NMHA) and the subsequent formalization through SB23-290, the state has set a precedent that challenges traditional perceptions and regulations surrounding psychedelics.
As other regions grapple with the complex interplay between legality and personal use, Colorado’s new legal framework has paved the way for a remarkable development with both personal and clinical models.
This allows the gifting and sharing of certain psychedelic substances to be both accessible and decriminalized in the entire state of Colorado, hopefully ushering in a new, stigma-free psychedelic era.
This article delves into the implications, the ethos, and the transformative potential of this progress in Colorado’s legal schemata within the world of medicinal and therapeutic psychedelic use.
Colorado’s Legal Progression on Psychedelic Medicines
As the dawn of a new era in psychedelic legality unfolds, Colorado stands at the forefront of progressive drug policy reform. In this state of transition, it is important for those residing in Colorado to understand how this affects our services in your state.
Proposition 122 and SB23-290: A Trailblazing Journey
In November of 2022, Colorado voters endorsed Proposition 122, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act (NMHA). The subsequent passage of SB 23-290 on May 2, 2023, however, marked the formal implementation of Proposition 122.
This new senate bill introduces a paradigm shift in the legal treatment of certain natural medicines, and outlines descriptive requirements and considerations for managing ethical and safety risks associated with this implementation.
The bill even considers potential effects on indigenous communities and how those can be mitigated through necessary legislation. One aspect carried over from Prop 122 was the exclusion of peyote, a sacred indigenous sacrament which is a specific type of mescaline.
Overall, the bill allows for personal use over the age of 21 and within a private setting. Public and commercial use and sale of these substances is expressly prohibited.
The bill also prohibits local and state law enforcement from penalizing or discriminating based on psychedelic use or possession outlined in SB23-290.
The Landscape: No Dispensaries, No Retail Sale
Colorado’s approach to psychedelics takes an unconventional route by steering clear of the dispensary model commonly associated with cannabis.
Instead, the state is paving the way for the establishment of licensed healing centers with trained facilitators, although this development is a ways off before being actualized.
While the plan is to develop licensure, training programs, and regulated healing facilities, the bill leaves room for the personal use and facilitation of these substances.
While the sale of natural medicines remains illegal, Colorado’s legal framework allows for possession, cultivation, consumption, and “sharing” of particular psychedelics within specific parameters.
Psilocybin, psilocybin mushrooms, psilocin, ibogaine, DMT, and mescaline (excluding peyote), are included in this model, while LSD is excluded. The bill also only applies to natural psychedelics as opposed to synthetic forms.
Personal Use: The Delicate Balance of Sharing, Not Selling
At the heart of this bill lies the Personal Use provisions, which cast a wide net of decriminalization over various natural medicines excluding commercial use.
The very definition of personal use encompasses not only consumption but also lawful possession, cultivation, and sharing of these natural medicines.
Importantly, the law extends the scope of personal use to encompass sharing within specific contexts—counseling, spiritual guidance, community-based healing, and more—among individuals aged 21 or older so long as no payment is required for the medicine.
Colorado’s legal framework hinges on the distinction between sharing and selling. While the gifting and sharing of certain natural medicines is permissible, the law expressly forbids commercial activities and the sale of these substances.
Personal use is defined as “the consumption of natural medicine or natural medicine product; or the amount of natural medicine or natural medicine product a person may lawfully possess, cultivate, or manufacture that is necessary to share with another person who is twenty-one years of age or older within the context of counseling, spiritual guidance, beneficial community-based use and healing, supported use, or related services” (Colorado General Assembly, 2023).
While there is still criminal conduct around the possession, use, and sharing of natural medicine in certain contexts (see Crimes outlined below), SB23-290 decriminalized:
- Personal use of natural medicine, including the consumption, use, cultivation, and manufacture of natural medicine and natural medicine product
- Sharing of natural medicine for personal use without remuneration provided it is not part of a business promotion or commercial activity
- Sharing natural medicine concurrently with bona fide harm reduction or support services where remuneration is exchanged for the bona fide services, provided there is no advertising and proper disclosures were made
- Ceremonial use of natural medicine
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Facilitating Change: Ceremony, Transparency, and Safety
Under Colorado’s progressive approach, facilitators play a pivotal role in guiding individuals through the realm of natural medicines.
This legal landscape encourages responsible facilitation, emphasizing the importance of transparency, informed consent, and adherence to the law.
While the law enables the gifting of natural medicines, it mandates proper disclosures and prohibits advertising and commercial ventures.
Facilitators within the state can offer their services with or without a license, as long as the nature of facilitation and gifting is transparently disclosed to participants.
Legal & Safety Considerations in the New Psychedelic Era
Despite Colorado’s bold step toward progressive drug policy, it’s important to recognize that federal law enforcement retains the authority to take action against individuals in possession of these substances.
This complex interplay between state and federal jurisdiction underscores the evolving nature of psychedelic legality.
Furthermore, with these new legal changes, semi-underground markets have already stormed the stage, selling magic mushrooms and psilocybin freely, so it’s imperative to still use caution and discretion when sourcing substances.
Comparative Insights: Colorado vs. Oregon
Drawing a comparative lens, Colorado’s approach contrasts with Oregon’s unique model, where licensed facilities solely offer assisted psychedelic therapy.
When it comes to Oregon Measures 109 and 110, psilocybin therapy is required to be practiced only with the guidance of a licensed therapist who has undergone a state-regulated program.
As discussed in our previous articles, the requirements for passing the state’s licensing program are surprisingly lenient.
These state-by-state distinctions reflect the dynamic landscape of evolving psychedelic policies in the United States.
To see a more extensive list of US states and jurisdictions which have decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelic medicines, check out our
How This Affects Our Service Here at Psychedelic Passage
Colorado’s unique laws around “sharing” psychedelics now allows for an even easier process for those looking to have a facilitated ceremony in the state.
This means that Colorado-based facilitators in our network are able to “gift” or share natural medicines with you as a part of the facilitation process, so long as payment is not received for the medicine itself.
Luckily, our ceremonial program costs are the same regardless of whether the facilitator is providing medicine or not and regardless of what state you are receiving services in.
Payment then includes the expertise and guidance provided by your facilitator during preparation, facilitation, and integration, but not for the provision of any psychedelic substance.
While this option is readily available for ceremonies taking place in Colorado, you are still welcome to source your own medicine should you choose to do so.
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