Explaining Colorado Prop 122 With Co-author Joshua Kappel (Part 1)

Explaining Colorado Prop 122 with co-author Joshua Kappel, and our hosts Jimmy and Nicholas. Joshua Kappel, chair of the campaign committee for the Natural Medicine Health Act, helps Colorado citizens understand the precise contours of decriminalization.

They discuss the differences between public, regulated use of plant-based psychedelics and private, personal use in community healing models. Joshua describes the permissions and limitations on personal and state-regulated psychedelic use, as set forth by Proposition 122.

In addition to removing criminal penalties for plant-based psychedelic use, our hosts explore Prop 122’s regulations on professional licensure, access to medical care, child rearing, and drug paraphernalia. How does the proposition affect psychedelic cultivation and processing?

What are the nuances of sharing natural psychedelics? Who can share them, and under what contexts? Later, our hosts will explore how cannabis legislation outcomes are influencing and informing the trajectory of psychedelic reform efforts. How does Proposition 122 protect personal use and community healing without opening the door for unregulated capitalism?

Ep. 22 – Explaining Colorado Prop 122 With Co-author Joshua Kappel

Jimmy: Welcome to The Psychedelic Passage Podcast. My name is Jimmy Nguyen. I am joined here by my cohost, Nick Levich, and we have a very exciting and informative episode for you all today. Today, we are joined by a wonderful guest, Josh Kappel, and we’re going to talk about Colorado Prop 122, which was just passed in the November Ballot of this year. 

Joshua Kappel, is a founding partner of the Vicente Sederberg with the practice devoted to helping entrepreneurs and like-minded professionals build human-centric and regenerative companies in the cannabis and psychedelic communities. Josh also has a passion for helping advocates draft legislation and build sustaining vehicles that will forever influence these emerging industries. 

Recently, Mr. Kappel was a coauthor and chair of the Campaign Committee for Colorado’s Prop 122, which we’ll be discussing today, which was the first successful state ballot measure to create access in natural psychedelic healing through both a state-regulated model and a decentralized community healing model.

Josh was also a drafter of Denver’s psilocybin decriminalization initiative and has assisted in drafting cannabis and psychedelic measures across the country. A big welcome to you Josh. 

Thank you for joining us. It’s just really grateful to have you here and just looking forward to diving in and educating Colorado citizens as well as potential and future psychedelic facilitators and service providers out there.

Josh: Thanks for having me, Jim, and of course, It’s an honor and a pleasure to be on the show.

Nick: Yeah, thank you.

Jimmy: I have a question for those who don’t reside in Colorado and probably didn’t vote on this. Prop 122 may not mean much of anything. For those that potentially reside out of state or just aren’t familiar, what is Prop 122?

What is Proposition 122?

Josh: Yeah, for sure. Prop 122, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act, is a state initiative in Colorado, as Jimmy mentioned, as you’re one of the lead drafters on and also chair of the Campaign Committee, so I’m a little biased. 

[Nick laughs] Really it is a statutory measure that came on the ballot based off of the campaign we were working on collecting 200,000 plus signatures to force a vote on this policy. 

High level, we’ll dive into the purpose of Prop 122 or the Natural Medicine Health Act is to create access to natural psychedelics in a healing context. It does it really in two ways. One, it sets up like a state-regulated model that I’m sure we’ll dive into and also creates access to a personal use community healing model.

Jimmy: Yeah, I think it’s important to mention to listeners that Prop 122 is a statewide measure. Folks are reading online that Ann Arbor and Detroit have decriminalized psychedelics and Oakland and a lot of other cities and local municipalities, Prop 122 is a statewide implementation and the only other statewide measures would be in Oregon with measures 108 and 109. 

I’m hearing you say that there are two parts to Prop 122, which is to establish a regulatory framework around psychedelics and psychedelic support services and then the other side which is decriminalizing the possession, use, consumption of certain psychedelics, right, not all. What are you defining as natural medicines? 

Josh: Great question and you’re right, I think throughout our conversation it’s good there’s a public-regulated model and there’s like a private personally used community model. I think it’s good to distinguish the two. 

We define natural medicines under the Natural Medicine Health Act as psilocybin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline, but not from peyote. How it plays out is actually different in both models. On the regulated model, it just includes psilocybin and psilocin. 

Maybe in the future other of these enumerated natural psychedelics could be added to it. On the personal use model, it includes all of these natural psychedelics the day this measure goes into effect.

Jimmy: Got it. Before we move any further, it’s also important to mention that though Josh is an attorney and though he is a co-author and a drafter of these measures, what we’re going to be talking about today should not be misconstrued as legal advice. 

We want to just talk about this from an information standpoint, from a public policy standpoint, from harm reduction standpoint, but just know that any actions that you all as listeners take are still within your own risk tolerances and choices there. 

That’s probably important for us to say. I don’t want somebody to be like, “Well I listen to the Psychedelic Passage Podcast and they said that I could do this.” What’s allowed and not allowed? I guess, Let’s focus on the personal use side maybe to start. 

What’s allowed, what’s not allowed? One of the things that I think that is really interesting about Prop 122 versus like Amendment 64 and other cannabis regulations is that it doesn’t create a recreational model where you can just run to a dispensary or a storefront to buy psychedelics. Maybe we could just use that as a jumping off of what’s permissible and not permissible in the personal use side.

Josh: Yeah, no I’m actually going to take a slight step back to build a little bit on the legal disclaimer. I think it’s really important to know that everything that’s permitted under Prop 122 is illegal under federal law. 

Similar to cannabis, it’s like if you possess cannabis in Colorado, you’re still violating federal law. Now how this works from a legal perspective generally is that 95%, 99% of all drug arrests are made at the state level, not the city level, but at the state level. 

When you look at these different psychedelic ballot measures moving forward, you have some at the city level, you have some at the state level, and then maybe one day we’ll see some at the federal level. What we did with Prop 122 is we just focused on the state level. 

Yes, I was also one of the drafters of the psilocybin measure in Denver that decriminalized psilocybin in Denver, but it’s important to note that even these city-based laws actually don’t change any criminal laws. 

They’re really just a statement for the law enforcement to not enforce the state criminal law. What we did with Prop 122 is we actually changed state criminal law, which effectively changes 95%, 98% of all arrests in Colorado related to these natural psychedelics. 

To your point about what is permitted under the personal use section is not a crime under state law. It’s decriminalized to possess, to share, to cultivate, to process, to ingest, to purchase different natural psychedelics. 

There are some limitations there that are worth highlighting. One, if you’re cultivating or processing natural psychedelics, it has to be done in a private residence and has to be secure from those under the age of 21. That’s like one key piece of it. If you’re sharing natural psychedelics with your community, I’m sure we’ll dive into this more because everyone’s really curious about the sharing piece. 

You’re not allowed to share it and receive any remuneration which means anything of value and you’re not allowed to commercialize the sharing of it. There are a couple of exceptions around if folks are being paid for true harm reduction services or true therapy services. 

There are also limitations in the measures I think are really key. You can’t use these natural medicines and go drive a vehicle or a boat. You can’t possess these on government-owned property, not just purely government-owned property, but it’s really a school, a detention facility, or another public building.

Limitations in Colorado Proposition 122

Nick: Yeah, and I think for Colorado it’s also like federal land, BLM land for those who want to engage with psychedelics in nature or go on hikes and things like that too, that I’m hearing that you’re not necessarily protected if you do end up on national land or in a national park or something like that.

Josh: I mean people have been eating psychedelics in Colorado and walking through national parks and national forests since the beginning of Colorado. With that said that you’re absolutely right. 

Possession of these natural psychedelics on federal property imposes a greater risk because this is still illegal under federal law. We saw this with cannabis where folks at Rocky Mountain National Park would receive tickets for possessing cannabis in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

There is an issue like possessing on federal land. There’s a prohibition or limitation that you can’t ingest these natural medicines, really, in a public place now that ingestion doesn’t apply to possessing or walking around on the streets, while you’re already on a micro-dose or in some other safe manner. I think another piece too is the age limitations, like the age limitation is 21.

So, none of this applies to anyone under the age of 21, bringing or providing these natural psychedelics to those under the age of 21 could still subject someone to probably pretty severe criminal penalties. 

There are limitations around that. There’s also a bunch of civil protections too that are probably worth talking about around the personal use section.

Nick: Let’s hear it.

Protections in Colorado Proposition 122

Josh: Yeah. In addition to just decriminalizing or removing criminal penalties for engaging in these acts, there’s also protections around professional licensure. I can’t lose my law license if I’m engaging in the personal use of natural medicine. 

Like a therapist can’t lose their license for sharing natural medicines with someone who provides it within the confines of the act. That’s a key piece of this puzzle. There’re protections if you’re on probation and parole, you can use natural medicines. 

This is really huge. A lot of times there’s so much trauma that comes from being in our very antiquated criminal justice system. Whether it’s what got you there or actually just being in a city, there’s protections around that. There’re protections around receiving medical care. 

A big issue we saw in the cannabis space is people being denied organ transplants because they were engaging in illegal drugs. This is like, no, you can’t be denied medical care just because you’re engaging in natural psychedelic medicines.

A super big one is there are protections around child rearing and this one’s so key, both in terms of child endangerment and child custody issues, but also in like divorce and separation proceedings for truly protecting our community. 

That’s like a very key piece of the puzzle. There’re a couple of other nuances around the personal use section. There’re protections around drug paraphernalia around natural psychedelic medicines. They are allowed to possess mushroom grow kits. It’s a long story but it’s actually becoming legal under federal law in some cases, that’s how federal law works with drug paraphernalia.

Jimmy: What about veterans and like the VA? I just think about these protections here and I know during my time in cannabis there was kind of this secrecy where people working at the VA, would it disclose if a veteran was using cannabis for some type of relief. 

Just knowing that the VA, let’s say, could take away benefits or whatever if somebody was using cannabis, that obviously has changed now, but is there any parallel or application to that here?

Josh: Yes, it’s tough because the VA is federally recognized, it’s a federal institution and there are reasons for hope that are working on this VA issue. It’s unclear how the VA will treat different natural psychedelics on this personal use side.

Nick: What about welfare and things like that? Because I heard you talking about child protection. I immediately thought about okay, parents are divorcing, it’s getting nasty. 

You can’t use the fact that one parent is micro-dosing to prove that they’re going to be endangering the child or that there’s going to be negligence there, which I really appreciate, but welfare programs, things like that?

Josh: Yeah. There are protections on the civil side around public assistance. With that said, it’s like a lot of the different public assistance programs are either delivered through the federal government or quasi-federal government in states.

There’ll be interesting issues around, for example, housing assistance. It’s administered by the State of Colorado, but it’s a federal program. How are they going to look at these issues? Will it actually become an issue? 

When we saw this become an issue in cannabis, it was because people are growing cannabis, which is just a more observable plant than mushrooms. Another thing to note too, which is interesting, is that a lot of the natural psychedelics except for mushrooms, are legal to grow anyways. 

All of the cacti that contain mescaline except for peyote are legal to grow in Colorado. Same with various plants that contain DMT. Generally. It’s like where the illegality has come in historically is around processing it. What this measure actually does is now it would allow you to process these natural plants for personal use.

Jimmy: Processing it. Yeah.

Nick: One of the things that I heard you say, Josh, is that purchasing is allowed, but then there’s no dispensaries and there’s no commercialization.

Jimmy: So, you can’t sell it?

Regulations on Sharing Psychedelics Under Colorado Prop 122 

Nick: Yeah. Can you maybe elaborate as to how if I want to purchase a natural medicine or maybe not purchase, but just obtain, how does one go about that under this new measure?

Josh: Right and so the idea on the personal use side is really for communities to grow it together and to share it. We don’t really want to encourage the purchasing of natural psychedelics from folks who are illegally selling it because you’re really putting them in legal jeopardy. 

It’s not something we’re trying to actively encourage and there are strict prohibitions against sales and there are strict criminal penalties around selling these products too. So, people are selling them, they’re really playing with fire. 

Those who say, “Oh, I’m going to give you mushrooms and you’re going to buy my Harm Reduction book,” that’s like pretty much selling them and you’re pretty much putting yourself in legal jeopardy. Now on the purchasing side, part of it was just to clarify that it’s like, hey, people who go in on the regulated side can purchase from healing centers, but it also does protect community healers from purchasing these products.

If Ayahuascaras are purchasing their medicines from somewhere, they are protected in that act. To me, it’s a key part of dismantling our overall failed drug war policies. Frankly, if there was a provision, there’s an argument sometimes it’s like, “Hey, you should probably also decriminalize sales too.” 

The difficulty there is like I’m a firm believer that decriminalization without any limitations on the commercialization will lead to rampant unchecked capitalism, like really taking hold of this industry. And that’s not what we want. It’s not what I want right now.

Jimmy: Well, that’s exactly what happened with cannabis. I’m trying really really hard to withhold my own personal opinions-

[laughter]

Jimmy: -here just to keep everything like a blank slate for our listeners. I think that there is something to learn about how regulations and cannabis unfolded, just even from a societal standpoint.

During the first five, seven years of cannabis, it really rode on medicinal programs and medicinal structures, and then now it’s all about the next recreational market and the next recreational state. 

One thing that I appreciate about Prop 122 and I acknowledge that there’s a lot of opinions even within the psychedelic community, even within the communities of Colorado at large about different parts and implementation of Prop 122. One thing that I appreciate is this relationship between the substance and the plant medicine itself and the community and services around that. 

When I hear you say that basically there’s not a commercial framework around the cultivation and selling of these plant medicines, it sounds like under certain conditions, providing true harm reduction services, providing true therapy services, being in communities that focus on those things that there is some thoughtfulness around that.

Josh: Yeah, I appreciate that. I think that there’s a lot of risks with just unchecked extractive capitalism. What does it mean when companies come in and they’re looking to extract as much as they can from a community and profit off of it? We’ve seen that in almost every industry in the world.

Jimmy: As always said, humans love to colonize stuff, and one of the main vehicles of colonization is capitalism. I have to pull my opinions back off now.

Josh: No, no.

Jimmy: I’m back to neutral.

[laughter]

Jimmy: I promise I’m back to neutral.

Josh: I appreciate your opinion, Jimmy, but to unpack that for a second, the idea here was like, “Hey, on the regulated side,” where there will be companies that can participate and there’ll be like some forms of commercialization if we get out in front of it on the regulated side, we can make it equity first, we can make it justice-oriented, we can limit the harms of capitalism. 

I can unpack the different pieces we put in there to try and do that and how we got to that process. Before I do, I think it’s important that on this personal use side, why this is so important for us was this community-based healing model. 

How do we allow community healing to happen in a manner where people aren’t scared of the police knocking on the door during an ISM? The therapist isn’t scared. They’re truly there at their patients working with them around psilocybin, even in the unregulated side of things.

With that said, though, it’s like there are limitations on the personal use section. One of those being this prohibition on commercialization. This prohibition on commercialization prohibits giving these medicines away as part of a business promotion or otherwise commercializing also prohibits paid advertising related to concurrent services. 

The paid advertising, I think, is a big piece of this because the idea is, hey, how do we protect personal use and community healing without opening the door for unchecked capitalism? And that’s sort of the idealistic structure.

Nick: Well, it’s funny because what you’re describing, I can see how the intention is that it functions much more like how these medicines would be used indigenously. 

Like you go to your local healer and they provide healing services for you, oftentimes at no cost or just because you’re a part of the community. It’s not designed to be for profit, it’s designed to be for impact.

Josh: I think that’s right. And there’s carve-outs too. It’s like if you’re that community healer, yes, when you’re truly providing support services, truly providing harm reduction services, you can be paid for that because community healers also deserve to get paid. 

So, that’s like a key piece too. It’s been really hard to thread the needle. I think we’ll see as this unfolds, we’ll see some developments here, hopefully not. Like, hopefully, everything just stays as is. 

I think we could see people trying to take advantage of it and then risk criminal prosecution. We could see there’s a lot of legislators and a lot of the political establishment that are really really concerned about this model. 

There might be some fights at the capital around it, hopefully not. I think we’ll see things develop and a big thing that I think is in my mind so key, is if we can as a community self-regulate this unregulated model, we can avoid the government stepping in.

I think as a community, we fail to self-regulate this unregulated model and there’s bad actors and they give everyone a bad name. We’ll likely see the government step in and limit things and clarify things and shut a lot of things down. That could have really drastic effects for a lot of different community healers and community groups.

Limitations on Possession of Psychedelics for Personal Use

Jimmy: Yeah, the acts that you do as an individual can affect the collective. The main thing that I’m hearing to all my cannabis colleagues out there that commercial grows are not a thing unless you are connected to a service or a healing center or for the very ambitious and entrepreneurial people who are creating packaging and going out on the 16th Street mall to dish out psilocybin that could put the whole implementation of this into major jeopardy. Are there possession limits to the personal side?

Josh: No, they’re not. This is a hot topic. Great question.

[laughter]

Josh: It was like a highly negotiated topic during the drafting phase between the Natural Medicine Health Act and new approach and SPORE and my coalition and the decriminalization folks, “Hey, should there be limits? Should there not be limits?” 

There are pros and cons on both sides but without rehashing old debates. Here’s where it stands now is you can possess whatever is necessary for you and for you to give to your community. And what is that? 

I think it’s pretty broad. At some point it’s like what you have is unreasonable. It’s like, “Hey, I have 10,000 pounds of mushrooms and it’s just me in a car on my way to the Kansas border.” It’s like, is that really necessary for you personally? I don’t know. It’s how it’s set up and how it’s set up,  you can pretty much have as much as is reasonably necessary for you and your community.

Jimmy: Yeah, and that ranges, right? Because Nick and the clients that we work with for some folks 2 g is the right amount for them. For some folks, they’re in 7, 8, 9 territory, even more territory. Even within the individual, there’s quite a range there on what’s [crosstalk]

Nick: I also think about like, this comes up with cannabis growing a lot, is like, you have your four plants and then you harvest, and then the harvest weight exceeds the personal possession amount. 

It’s so easy to have the same thing happen with growing psilocybin. You’ve got a tub of psilocybin that’s fruiting and if you arbitrarily pass those limits, you don’t know how much of the harvest is going to yield. It’s just a challenging game to play.

Jimmy: Before the drying process where you lose 80% of the moisture and all of that.

Nick: Yeah.

Josh: I think when you think about what’s necessary for someone, it’s not only about individual quantities of how much you take at a time. It’s also that frequency of use and time that you have to grow again. It might be, “Hey, I want to cultivate some mushrooms before I have my entire family over for the holidays and I don’t want kids running around. 

I have a small window where I can cultivate mushrooms that need to take me over the next number of years or whatever it might look like based on my micro-dosing regimen or based on wanting to have a hero dose every quarter or every month. 

Like all these different pieces of like, “Hey, what is actually necessary?” As you mentioned, it was so hard to define what that number is for each person and then what the cultivation looks like and the drying process, and then each of these natural medicines is completely different.

Is Colorado Proposition 122 Retroactive?

Jimmy: I like that psychedelics embedded within it have some counter-capitalist things as far as frequency of use, right? When folks have a big psychedelic experience unless they’re in a specific ceremony or lineage or retreat structure where they’re communing with the medicine a couple of nights in a row, likely you’re not going to want to go back and have that experience right away. 

Even with micro-dosing where folks are using specific medicines daily or two days one day off, or three, four days in the week or whatnot, they’re small amounts. We’re talking about like a 30th or a 60th of what would constitute a hallucinogenic dose. 

Embedded in there is this anticapitalism where I don’t think somebody would be going to a dispensary, let’s say, using that model every day like some folks do or using psychedelics like cannabis every day.

No disrespect to those folks. To reiterate, I’m very much like a radical free will personal choice type of person, but I just appreciate that there is this effort to say, “Hey, psychedelics are not the standalone things, they should be used as tools, should be used in communities, should be used in some type of a structure. 

Now there is a debate, I think, within the psychedelic community about, okay, how does that look? The implementation side of this? Is this addressing community needs? I kind of hear you alluding to that in what you’re saying where to like, who knows what would be prosecuted or not prosecuted or how this actually gets implemented over time. 

Am I understanding correctly that this measure is not in effect yet, at least on the personal use side, and then that there will be this whole implementation process? Or can you highlight that a little bit for us?

Josh: Yeah, great question. On the effective date, I do want to acknowledge there is a lot of ambiguity under the personal use section as soon as money is involved. If you keep money completely out of the equation, it’s pretty clear you can possess, you can use, you can grow, you can share. 

Once you add money in, then it becomes a little ambiguous and that’s like how it works. There’s just more of a spectrum of what is true, like community healing and support, and what is commercialization. 

With that said, to your point about the effective date, so the measure, it depends, there’s like an either/or clause. It becomes effective upon the official declaration of the vote, which we expect could happen any day, but probably by the latest, like January 5th or January 15th, 30 days thereafter.

Jimmy: Oh, that’s Nick’s birthday. Perfect.

Josh: Yeah, right.

[laughter]

Jimmy: Celebrate. Happy birthday, Nick.

Josh: I think it’s also key to note that it’s like this measure is retroactive, so it applies to all cases pending. We saw this with the rabbi in Denver whose case was dismissed based off of Prop 122 going into that.

Jimmy: Oh wow.

Josh: For those who are fine, just like the real-world implications of it, hey there’s rabbi whose leading community healing circles, talked to the media about it, was arrested the next day after he was on the– maybe a few days after. 

Just recently that case was dismissed because when the prosecutors looked at Prop 122 and how it applied to this case, it said this conduct is legal from them. There’s this retroactive application to– effective date is likely sometime in January, but practically because of the retroactive piece of it, it’s more or less effective to that. 

Jimmy: Got it. What we’ve naturally done here is that we focus this whole conversation on the personal use side. Maybe what might make sense is we can make sure that you are addressing all the things that you want to share with the public and the community about the personal use side. 

We can jump into another episode that talks about the regulated model side because I know we have a lot of listeners who are facilitators and service providers in healing communities. What things have we not covered that you feel are very important for just the public at large? 

Anybody who’s just interested in what’s happening in Colorado regarding natural medicines, regardless of whether you live here or not. What things would you share with folks?

Josh: Yeah, a couple of other key pieces on the personal use side. One is that there are limitations, like if you take psychedelics and you harm someone else, there’s going to be consequences whether it’s an existing law or this law is not going to cover it. So just be mindful of that, it’s like operating–

Nick: It doesn’t give you a hall pass to be an as*hole.

Josh: Right, exactly.

Jimmy: I think that’s actually the language in the rule I read.

[laughter]

Josh: Yeah. It’s like “1217011-Hall pass”.

Nick: Don’t be an as*hole.

Josh: Yeah.

[laughter]

Jimmy: Okay. That’s important.

Josh: It’s also a big deal as it doesn’t provide employee protection. This is something worth noting where and drug tests around psilocybin, not all drug tests test for psilocybin or psilocin or mescaline or DMT, but if your company does have drug tests that test for that and they mandate it, it’s not going to save you from your job. 

This is key especially if you’re a federal contractor, you’re working with a high-security job, or a safety-sensitive job. There could be truck drivers, et cetera, there could be some issues.

Jimmy: You’re a school teacher, you are some type of a counselor. This is actually really important because there’s a huge part of the population who micro dose for work performance and mental acuity and stress resilience and all of that. 

I’m reminded of the story in Silicon Valley of the CEO who took LSD before a board meeting. There was probably a lot more history there, but their major claim was that he was high on LSD and so they let him go. Now it’s a whole different case with potential discrimination based on his ethnicity and all of that. 

It’s a really important thing because there’s a lot of people out there who are going to pop a micro dose right before work or an hour before work. You’re not protected from an employee standpoint if you’re caught to some degree.

Josh: Right. Thankfully we’re moving more towards a world where employers find that drug tests are like a blunt instrument of measuring employee job performance doesn’t work. You actually won’t have a lot of employees if that’s the case in Colorado. 

But you’re absolutely right, if you tell your HR department, “Hey, you’re micro-dosing?” They are like, this person admitted that they’re doing an illegal drug before they come to work and let you go and there won’t be protections in here for that. 

Now, there are a lot of companies that are encouraging micro-dosing and I encourage people to support those companies, but we’re not quite there yet. I think that’s a key piece of this employment piece. The other thing too is there’s like a record sealing built in. 

Jimmy: How awesome.

Josh: It’s not automatic. There are some steps that need to be taken, but if you’ve been convicted of an offense that would now be legal under this measure, there’s a streamlined process for sealing your record. 

Not for a shameless plug, but with Vicente Sederberg, I believe we’re plotting a record sealing clinic for the first or second weekend in January for those who need help filing the paperwork.

Jimmy: I’m obviously biased, but I don’t think that’s a shameless plug at all because one of the things that we see here is that there’s a gap that Nick and I see is that there’s a gap in the new regulations and the new hot interest around psychedelics and a huge gap in the actionable side of it. 

Okay, what do we do with this? How do I get my record sealed or expunged or whatnot? Out of curiosity, I know we’re kind of running into time a little bit here, but are there a big number of people in Colorado who are incarcerated at the state level for psychedelics?

Josh: No, there’s not. It’s actually less than 1% of all drug arrests in Colorado for psilocybin or psilocin, there’s not. A lot of these arrests too are generally tied in with something else. 

I think it actually kind of goes to your point of not only are psychedelics kind of anti-capitalists in their nature based off of the transformative experiences and the non-addictive potential of it but there’s a study that actually leads to less crime and less violent behavior. 

They’re more introspective and they actually lead to better community members and better people in society in some cases. You don’t see the same public health issues around psychedelics as you see around a lot more or not even a lot more, just around aggressive, non healing-based drugs.

Nick: It’s funny Paul Stamets spoke about that at Burning Man. He was like, we should be using these as rehabilitation tools, not as reasons to put people in jail.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely. This is really exciting. Maybe this will be like a tease for step two on the regulator step, but there are a number of addiction companies in Colorado that are looking like, “Hey, how do we bring these medicines and to help to get people off of their chronic alcohol use or other or different opium addictions?” And so, this is a big issue. It’s like you’re psychedelic for the better. For me, it’s like why I’m in this mess.

Jimmy: Yeah, which has too, which is why I appreciated iboga and ibogaine being included here. Obviously, there’s a cultural and historical aspect that needs to be respected around ibogaine, but there’s a lot of anecdotal reports and evidence directly around substance use recovery. 

Anything else? Josh, as we wrap up this episode, here that you think would be important for folks to know on the personal side?

Josh: I think the biggest thing to me that I would love everyone to know who’s in the Colorado psychedelic community is the personal use provisions. 

They are really broad and they’re not meant to be commercialized and there isn’t government oversight and without government oversight, we need community oversight and education and we need to be supporting people and telling people what these medicines look like and what dosages are appropriate and how first-timers should use it. 

There’s just a lot of opportunity here for the community to come together as a whole and protect and keep these personal use provisions sacred in many cases.

Jimmy: Yeah, there’s a really great analogy that one of my friends use which is really appropriate in Colorado where rock climbing is really risky. We’re not going to fully outlaw rock climbing. 

We know that there’re risks and people should be prepared and people should have their gear, people should have the knowledge and people die rock climbing all the time, and people also rock climb very unsafely all the time and insert backpacking or backcountry skiing and all of that. 

What happens is when those folks get rescued by search and rescue or they come back, they’re shamed in their communities. They say like, “You’re an idiot, you should have checked the weather, you should have so and so and so that’s something that’s really stuck with me and I really hope that we do see that in our community. Nick, I know you were going to say something before I jumped in there.

Nick: No, all I was going to say is that it is a bit of like a social experiment to see if we can self-regulate and take care of our neighbors, take care of each other, help people learn how to do this, and really educate one another because there’s a big gap in education right now.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Josh: What happened over the next couple of years if it’s all stories of people abusing the personal use section, then when other states look at this, they’re only going to move forward on the regulated side of reform that excludes this community model and I think that would be the largest shame of this whole experiment. 

Jimmy: Yeah, so it’s up to us it sounds like. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Josh for this and thank you for joining us on our next episode as well. This will wrap up our episode around the personal use decriminalization side of Colorado Prop 122. 

In the next episode, we’ll talk and focus more on the regulatory frameworks here. So, thank you for joining us. You can download episodes of The Psychedelic Passage Podcast by looking for all our episodes, you can go to cannabisradio.com, subscribe to the show on Apple Podcast, Amazon, Spotify, IHeartRadio, wherever you get podcasts. 

If you like the show, it would be a great great help and honor for us to rate, review, and just leave us some comments and thoughts on if what we talk about and the dialogue that we have are helpful to you. So, thank you. Thank you, Josh, and we will see you all next week.

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