Governor Jared Polis recently signed a bill into law that creates a regulatory structure for the legal use of psychedelics in Colorado.
The bill, SB23-290, sets up regulations for the voter-approved Prop. 122 that decriminalizes natural psychedelics and legalizes their use in licensed healing centers.
The new law acknowledges that the potential benefits of psychedelics to treat mental health conditions and spiritual growth should be balanced with potential health and safety risks to consumers and potential cultural harms to indigenous communities.
Report Shows No Increase in Public Health Harms
Meanwhile, according to Frederick Research advocacy group’s recent report on psychedelics’ legalization and its impact on public safety and health, statewide legalization of psychedelics is not a threat to public health or safety.
Less than 3% of the state’s drug-related crimes over the past three years involved psychedelics, and there has been no noticeable increase in these crimes since legalization last November. Psychedelics accounted for less than 1% of hospital events, while alcohol accounted for 54.1%, opioids accounted for 10.8%, and cannabis accounted for 10.7%.
Potential discrepancies in reported crime following legalization were seemingly offset by looking into DUI offenses, which again showed no changes in those related to psychedelics, accounting for only 3.9% of total DUIs in 2022 and 2.44% in 2023 so far.
The report’s author, Greg Ferenstein, has proposed a draft bill toward legalizing retail sales of psychedelics through a personal license for recreational use. Support from policymakers and voters could make the legalization campaign a reality by 2024-2025.
Ferenstein also states that Colorado’s experience is similar to the Netherlands, where largely unregulated retail sales and therapy services of psilocybin have been legal for years and make up less than 3% of ambulance calls and a small fraction of crimes.