Two years after the City of Denver decriminalized the use of psilocybin for adults 21 and older, the state of Colorado passed Proposition 122 in 2022 to legalize psychedelics, specifically psilocybin for therapeutic uses in mental healthcare. Presently, Proposition 122, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act (“NMHA”), is the most comprehensive psychedelics measure ever introduced on a statewide ballot. Under NMHA, the appointed Natural Medicine Advisory Board will make its first recommendations by September 30th, 2024, for regulatory oversight, so licensed healing centers can begin offering psilocybin by late 2024. Further, the Act removes criminal penalties for various types of “personal use.” As of December 27th, Coloradans 21 and older can grow, gift, gather, and consume a number of naturally occurring psychedelics, which include psilocybin, psilocyin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline (excluding peyote). Due to its more expansive legislation, Proposition 122 further allows officials to develop similar programs by 2026 for these other psychedelic substances.
Decriminalization in the “Centennial State”
The first part of the Act that became effective is the decriminalization of the personal use of psilocybin, psilocyin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline for Colorado residents 21 and older. Under such rule, adults will have protections to grow such psychedelics and use them in private spaces such as their home. Due to removing criminal penalties at the state and local levels, there has been a decrease in the likelihood of being arrested or facing criminal consequences.
However, this initial step does come with its restrictions including: (i) prohibition for adults to sell psychedelics for profit; (ii) no protection for synthetic versions of the permitted substances; and (iii) prohibition of ingestion of psychedelics in public places.
Pursuant to the NMHA, Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (“DORA”) will be developing and implementing the rules for and overseeing the state’s legal psilocybin program as intended to begin operations late 2024. As discussed above, alongside DORA, the volunteer Natural Medicine Advisory Board will assist in creating a comprehensive framework for such a novel program. The Board will consist of fifteen (15) experts in various fields related to psychedelics such as mycology, psychology, and more.
Timeline for Getting a Psychedelic License in Colorado:
- Adopt Rules to Establish Facilitator Licensee Requirements January 1, 2024
- Adopt Rules to Implement Program & Begin Accepting Applications September 30, 2024
- Program Will Only Include Psilocybin & Psilocyin June 1, 2026
- Add Additional Psychedelic Substances June 1,2026
Types of Current Colorado Psychedelic Licenses:
Is an individual, who is 21 years of age or older, that is licensed by the Department to provide natural medicine services to a participant and has met all regulatory requirements.
An entity licensed by the Department that is permitted to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supplies, sells, or dispenses natural medicine and related supplies. Further, this will be where licensed facilitators will hold preparation, administration, and/or integration sessions for participants.
An entity licensed by the Department to conduct independent testing of natural medicine forconcentration and contaminants to ensure all products are safe for human consumption.
What are the “Natural Medicines”?
- Dimethyltryptamine (“DMT”)
- Mescaline (excluding peyote)
As discussed above, only psilocybin and psilocyin will be provided at licensed healing centers until 2026.
Even though the novelty of this program may make some communities in Colorado wary, the Act has prohibited localities from banning healing center establishments within its boundaries. Further, the Act does not allow localities to prohibit the transportation of natural medicine through its jurisdiction on public roadways nor adopt ordinances or regulations that are unreasonable for licensees to operate there. However, local Colorado communities will be permitted to regulate the time, place, and manner of the operation of healing centers.
Social Equity Regulations
Pursuant to the NMHA, the Department will be required to set forth policies and procedures to ensure the regulatory access program is equitable and inclusive. There will be emphasis placed on persons: (i) from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by high rates of controlled substances arrests; (ii) who face barriers to access health care; (iii) who have a traditional or indigenous history with natural medicines; or (iv) who are veterans.
Differences from Oregon’s Psychedelic Framework
As Colorado utilized Oregon’s framework to design the eighteen (18)-page Natural Medicine Health Act, we highlighted some regulations that differ from Oregon’s Measure 109:
- Under NMHA, Colorado designed their healing centers to be vertically integrated, whereas Oregon has developed four (4) different license types for each pat of the supply chain.
- Permit locations not owned by a licensed healing center to provide natural medicine services through licensed facilitators, including healthcare facilities and private residences.
- Colorado’s regulatory systems is structured to allow additional psychedelic compounds in the coming years.
- Proposition 122’s language had a focus in decriminalization, whereas Oregon adopted a more restrictive decriminalization approach through a separate ballot, Measure 110. Oregon remains the only state to decriminalize all drugs.
- Oregon allows municipalities to ban psilocybin service centers, whereas Colorado does not permit a total ban with localities’ boundaries.
To enter the legal psychedelic market, there are various regulatory requirements that are demanded by the state. Due to the relative similarity of the psychedelic licensing market and cannabis business licensing industry, our Team has an in-depth understanding of how to successfully meet all such requirements to ensure your team creates a strong, trusting relationship with the state’s regulatory body. Depending on your team’s needs, we offer an array of services to best meet your current and future goals. From building a team, including local partners and organizations, to introducing you to our network of lobbyists and expert industry professionals, we will make sure you have a strong group to enter such competitive markets. Further, we will provide proven Standard Operating Procedures and personalized narratives to ensure we represent your team as an efficient, turnkey group who is eager and ready to enter the industry. Our Team will collaboratively develop innovative strategies to help differentiate your team from the rest through tactical funding, community outreach initiatives, and identifying ideal facilities.
Due to the novelty of the psychedelic market, we understand that having an expert Team of Colorado Psychedelic License Consultants behind you to overcome the complex regulatory obstacles is essential to ensuring your success. If you are interested in discussing your options, contact our Team today via our website or through email.