Colorado Prop 122 results on legalizing psilocybin, psilocin, shrooms
Colorado is poised to become the second U.S. state to legalize medicinal psychedelics.
Proposition 122, Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances, was supported by about 51% of the vote as of 8:16 p.m. with 1,986,046 votes counted, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The measure was ahead by nearly 56,000 votes as of that time.
Natural Medicine Colorado, the campaign behind the measure, declared victory at 5:20 p.m. Luke Niforatos, CEO of Protect Colorado’s Kids, the opposition group fighting the measure, confirmed to The Denver Post he had conceded. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.
The measure legalizes psilocybin and psilocin, two compounds found in “magic mushrooms,” for use in therapeutic settings and paves the way for the establishment of “healing centers” where adults 21 years old and up can use the substances under the supervision of licensed professionals.
Additionally, Proposition 122 decriminalizes the personal growing, use and sharing of psilocybin and psilocin, as well as ibogaine, mescaline and dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, for adults.
Colorado follows Oregon, which legalized psilocybin in 2020. Natural Medicine Colorado lauded the results as a history-making win.
“Colorado voters saw the benefit of regulated access to natural medicines, including psilocybin, so people with PTSD, terminal illness, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can heal,” said the measure’s co-proponents, Kevin Matthews and Veronica Lightening Horse Perez, in a statement. “We look forward to working with the regulatory and medical experts and other stakeholders to implement this new law.”
Earlier in the day, Niforatos said he was pessimistic about the outcome of the vote. He expected it to pass despite his group’s efforts.
“We don’t believe there are enough votes out there based on the county reporting. There’s more votes in Denver where it’s breaking 65-35 in support, so I don’t see a path to victory at this point,” Niforatos told The Denver Post.
Proposition 122 gives the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) until January 2024 to develop licensing criteria for psychedelic treatment centers, facilitators, and ancillary businesses, in hopes it can begin accepting applications for these licenses later that year. By mid-2026, DORA could opt to expand the list of legal psychedelics to include ibogaine, mescaline, and DMT.
The effort to legalize psilocybin and psilocin, both Schedule I controlled substances, comes just three years after Denver became the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. Last year, a panel tasked with evaluating the effects of decriminalization determined it “has not since presented any significant public health or safety risk in the city,” and suggested easing local laws further.
Still, the debate about whether or not to legalize proved contentious this election season. Proponents of Proposition 122 billed it as a potentially valuable tool to address the mental health needs of Coloradans. Psilocybin has shown promising results in treating depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, end-of-life anxiety, and nicotine and alcohol addiction in clinical studies.
However, opponents including the American Psychiatric Association argued the measure was outpacing science. In an open letter signed by politicians including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, and Attorney General Phil Weiser, officials noted a lack of any approved therapies that use psychedelic mushrooms and scant scientific evidence that Prop 122 is good public policy.
Even some psychedelics advocates opted to vote against the initiative, stating they were suspicious of big money backing the campaign.
As of Nov. 2, Natural Medicine Colorado had raised $5.5 million. Three-quarters of that money came from two separate, but related groups – New Approach PAC and New Approach Advocacy Fund – with deep pockets and ties to high-profile American businesspeople. TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, for example, contributed $1 million to the political action committee in support of Prop 122.
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