cColorado voters approved the broadest legalization of the drug in the United States, which would decriminalize five Narcotics Enable adults to receive narcotic drugs in licensed centers. The Associated Press called for a vote on the measure, Proposition 122, Friday morning; 92% of the votes were as of 11 am, compared to 52.3% of those who voted.
Kevin Matthews, coalition director at Natural Medicine Colorado, who advocated the procedure, called the victory a “tremendous historic moment.” In Colorado, which is often referred to as one of the states with poorer mental healthHe said there was a need for more mental health treatment options.
“The intent was to make these drugs accessible to as many people in Colorado who could benefit from them, especially for those who suffer from things like major depression, severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, end-of-life disorder and other illnesses,” he said. “People at least deserve the choice and the freedom to work with these drugs.”
Statewide legalization was also a huge step forward for Colorado activists like Matthews, who succeeded in his campaign to make Denver the first American city Decriminalizing psilocybin in 2019. suffrage Measures Decriminalizes possession of certain narcotic drugs for personal use in the state and specifically certifies psilocybin, the narcotic component of magic mushrooms, for use in licensed facilities starting in 2024. (In these ways, the 2020 procedures are similar to Oregon, which has been decriminalized. small amount of drugs in 2021 and the launch of the psilocybin access program in 2023.)
However, Colorado’s proposal 122 goes further than that in several ways. In addition to decriminalizing possession, it decriminalizes the growth and sharing of five anesthetics for personal use: psilocybin, psilocyn (a drug also found in magic mushrooms), dimethyltryptamine (commonly known as DMT, which is found in plants and animals, including some trees and frogs) , Ibogaine (derived from the bark of an African shrub), and mescaline (found mainly in cacti; however, prop 122 excludes peyote). It also paves the way for all of these narcotic drugs to be used in “healing centers” – facilities licensed by the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies where the public can purchase, consume, and take narcotic drugs under supervision. The regulated access program will initially be limited to psilocybin, which will launch in late 2024, but if recommended by the governor’s appointed Natural Medicines Advisory Board, it could be expanded to include DMT, ibogaine and mescaline in 2026.
Voting is a huge step forward for the so-called “drug renaissance“—Re-emergence of interest in narcotics among scientific researchers, investors, and the general population. While psychedelics are still Schedule I substances and therefore illegal at the federal level, scientific research into the mental health benefits of narcotics has generated hope that psychedelic drugs can To help treat conditions including depressionAnd the substance use disorderAnd the worry. In the next few years, experts expect that the FDA will for the first time consider the potential mental health benefits of MDMA and psilocybin; Non-Profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) He said She expects to apply for approval for MDMA as a treatment for PTSD next year.
Proposition 122 did not have an easy path to victory. Even some advocates for broader access to psychedelic research have opposed this, expressing concern that psychedelic drugs have not been researched long enough and in enough people to justify their legalization. Narcotic medicines can also pose serious health risks, which may become more common as a larger group of people start using them; For example, ibogaine is known to sometimes cause heart problems. Recent psychedelic research is designed to reduce risk, and participants who may be more susceptible to adverse effects such as psychosis are usually excluded from the research; Experts say that in the case of a large population, more serious side effects can be observed.
Opponents of this measure have expressed concern that drug use, even by adults, will increase Children exposed to drugs (Although the measure states that access will be limited to people over the age of 21) Some have also expressed concern about the requirement to deliver medicines at licensed recovery centers. Matthew Duffy, founder of SPORE (Association for Drug Reform and Awareness) and leader of the campaign to decriminalize narcotic in Denver, argues that the law would put hallucinogens under corporate control. He urged the Coloradins to vote against the measure in September opinion article in Denver Mail, calling it a “corporate power grab” because it would limit access to only corporate-owned positions, and cautioned that since the rule does not specify how much people can own, it will be up to the discretion of law enforcement. Meanwhile, Matthews responded by saying that there are provisions in the procedure to protect small businesses, including restrictions on an individual owning a stake in more than five locations.
This concern was echoed by a bipartisan group of Colorado elected officials, who voiced opposition to the measure in an October speech, such as Colorado Public Radio mentioned. While they said the psychedelic research “holds early promise,” they wrote, “This polling measure is not based on science and will prematurely unleash a new commercial industry, led by out-of-state funders seeking to capitalize on increased recreational drug use in Colorado.” They also expressed concern that, unlike in Oregon—where voters decided, during the mid-term of 2022, whether to allow psilocybin-related work in their counties—the Colorado program would be implemented across the state.
Nicole Foerster, the Decriminalize Boulder activist, wrote that she welcomes part of the measure that has led to the decriminalization of the drug, but cautioned that the organized use approach could lead to some people being imprisoned while others benefit from the substance. They noted that the measure passed without the support of many grassroots drug activists.
“Show 122 supports commercial interest at the expense of legacy and indigenous medicine workers. But it also contains the most advanced decriminalization language in history. “It is imperative that we continue to fight for anti-cancer policy that places no limits on our ability to relate to nature.”
However, the Colorado vote shows how hallucinogens’ reputation has improved over the past few years. Experts not only praise the wealth of new science about psychedelics, but also owe their stories to individual drug experiences — including those of veterans who struggled with their mental health featured in places like the 2022 Netflix documentary. How do you change your mindwhich was dependent on Michael Pollan‘s book of the same name.
According to Matthews, the victory in Colorado is a sign that the movement has lasting power. “Our success with this campaign is the next step in a much larger conversation,” he said. “There is a lot of work to be done, and it really starts with education: to make sure that people really understand the power of these drugs and how to use them responsibly.”
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