Legalizing psychedelic drugs will likely be on CO ballots in November

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Organizers filed petition signatures Monday in a bid to put an initiative on state ballots in November that would allow doctors to prescribe psychedelic drugs to patients with depression and PTSD.

Colorado Natural Medicine, a Colorado ballot initiative group supporting the Natural Medicine Health Act or Initiative 58announced at a press conference that they had submitted 222,648 signatures from state voters to the Colorado secretary of state, hoping the initiative would be cleared for the November 2022 ballot.

As obligatory per the state constitution, 5% of Colorado’s total voter count from the previous Secretary of State race must be considered valid for the initiative to be allowed for the ballot. Colorado Natural Medicine announced that it had submitted 222,648 signatures, about 98,000 more than the required number.

“We have been collecting signatures for 88 days,” said Kevin Matthewswho previously worked on The Denver Local Initiative decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms back in 2019 and is a representative of Colorado Natural Medicine. “The process has been exciting. Most people we spoke to support this [ballot initiative].”

Veronica Perez, co-appointed Colorado Natural Medicine representative, felt the same way. “It was absolutely fascinating,” she said. “It’s a monumental thing that we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Also present and supporting Initiative 58 were spokespersons Dr. Sarah Abedi, clinical researcher at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, and Luke Gruber, a US Marine Corps veteran.

“Traditional and standard antidepressants that you usually take every day, and often they take up to 4-6 weeks to work. What we are seeing now with these treatment modalities is that maybe 1 or 2 doses may be enough,” Dr Abedi said. “I think a lot of patients, if they had a choice, I imagine they would want to know if they could take a single pill.”

Ballot initiative would allow state-regulated therapy systems to provide access to psychedelic drugs for adults 21 and older in the form of psilocybin, and with potential to expand to include dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine and mescaline (excluding peyote).

The ballot initiative makes not authorize psychedelics for recreational use or retail sale, and would instead be primarily regulated by standard medical practice guidelines, training and licensing requirements, and state regulatory systems under the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies ( DORA). Medication purchased for facilitated sessions could only be used under supervision and could not be taken home for personal use.

“I think Initiative 58 is designed in the right way to keep it regulated,” Gruber said. “Fifty-eight is written the right way so that it will always not only protect our youth, but also protect people by allowing research and regulation to continue.”

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