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Colorado Officials Seek Psychedelics Advisory Board Members As State Works To Implement Legalization Ballot Measure



Colorado officials are looking for people to join a first-of-its-kind advisory board tasked with informing the implementation of psychedelics legalization following voter approval of a reform initiative on the November ballot.

The state Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is promoting a webpage where people can fill out applications to be considered for appointment on the Natural Medicine Advisory Board. The application forms request information about a person’s basic background and qualifications.

The 15-member board, once appointed by the governor, will be responsible for studying and making recommendations on a number of issues related to the psychedelics law, which permits adults 21 and older to possess, cultivate and share certain psychedelics, while also establishing psilocybin “healing centers” in the state.

Those recommendations would cover topics like promoting public education about the reform, regulating natural plants and fungi, ensuring “affordable, equitable, ethical and culturally responsible access to natural medicines” and possibly adding new substance to the therapeutic program.

Gov. Jared Polis (D) is charged with making appointments to the board no later than January 31. He issued a proclamation certifying the November vote late last month ahead of deadline, which made effective provisions legalizing possession, cultivation and sharing of psilocybin, ibogaine, mescaline (not derived from peyote), DMT and psilocyn for adults 21 and older.

The measure legalizes “personal use” amounts of the included psychedelics. While it doesn’t set a specific numerical definition for such limits, there is no commercial sales component beyond legal access at the licensed healing centers. The psychedelic substances remain federally illegal.

After the governor finalizes his appointments for the advisory board, members will need to submit their initial report with policy recommendations by September 30.

What will take more time is establishing psilocybin healing centers as prescribed under the initiative. Regulators have until January 1, 2024 to establish rules for trained facilitators to work at the centers, and they must be ready to implement the therapeutic program and begin accepting licensing applications by September 30, 2024.

At first, the healing centers will only involve psilocybin and psilocyn. But by June 1, 2026, the advisory board could start recommending that other psychedelics such as ibogaine, mescaline (not derived from peyote) and DMT be added to the list of substances that can be used at the facilities.

Polis said following the vote in November that he’s “excited” about reform, calling psychedelics a “promising” treatment option for certain mental health conditions.

He cheered the approval of the psychedelics ballot measure, despite having declined the opportunity to endorse to proposal ahead of the vote.

The governor also separately said in late November that lawmakers may need to pass additional enabling legislation “to set it up in a way that prevents any negative consequences and honors the will of the voters.”

Certain psychedelics reform advocates had actively opposed the initiative, including some activists who pushed for an alternative legalization measure that didn’t make the ballot.

Those activists argued that the initiative imposes too many regulations for entheogenic substances and would benefit corporate interests that want to provide psychedelic treatment services.

Meanwhile, Polis signed a bill in June to align state statute to legalize MDMA prescriptions if and when the federal government ultimately permits such use.

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