Nov 15, 2022 - News

What happens now that Colorado voters decriminalized magic mushrooms

Illustration of a checkmark that sprouts mushrooms at the end, over a pink and yellow-green background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Colorado is joining Oregon as the second state in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms and establish a regulated industry for plant-based psychedelic drugs.

  • Proposition 122 narrowly passed with 53% of voter support as of Monday morning, preliminary results show.

Why it matters: The measure marks the most sweeping psychedelic legalization in the country as it effectively decriminalizes five psychedelic substances.

  • It also puts Colorado in a position to set a national example as the state navigates uncharted territory, much like it did a decade ago when local voters legalized marijuana statewide.
Here's what Prop. 122 means:
  • Adults ages 21 and older can possess, use, grow and share mushrooms with psilocybin and psilocin β€” the hallucinogens found in psychedelic 'shrooms.
  • By late 2024, licensed "healing centers" can start opening to provide magic mushrooms to clients. Customers pay for the facility's supervision services while experiencing the plant. (Doctors' approval won't be needed.)
  • Three other plant-based psychedelics β€” mescaline (excluding peyote cactus), ibogaine and dimethyltryptamine β€” are also decriminalized for people ages 21 and up.
  • By mid-2026, a state advisory board will recommend whether healing centers can add mescaline, ibogaine and DMT to their services, in addition to magic mushrooms.
  • Criminal records of people with past convictions involving the legalized substances will be sealed, meaning past offenses won't be public record.
Here's what Prop. 122 forbids:
  • The retail or commercial sales of psychedelics outside of licensed facilities.
  • Colorado counties and municipalities banning healing centers.

What's next: Gov. Jared Polis must appoint 15 members to an advisory board by Jan. 31. The board will be required to deliver its first recommendations detailing operational requirements for healing centers by Sept. 30.

  • Meanwhile, companies are already exploring ways to capitalize on Colorado's newest industry. For research, some business owners are booking trips to other countries, like Jamaica, where psychedelic "wellness" retreats are popular, KHN reports.
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