DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s “natural medicine” law, which decriminalizes certain psychedelics, is hitting another phase in its rollout.
Senate President Steve Fenberg introduced a bill Tuesday that lays out the legal framework for implementing the voter-approved initiative.
Nearly 54% of voters last year decided to decriminalize psilocybin, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline, all of them defined under the umbrella phrase “natural medicine” in Proposition 122.
Coloradans also gave the OK to “healing centers” for psilocybin, where users could ingest the drugs under licensed supervision, but legislators now have to regulate how exactly that will work. The law also opens the door for the other three drugs to be included in therapeutic settings in the future.
Now, Senate Bill 290 looks to define what comes next.
Psychedelic penalties, restrictions and more
According to the summary of the 87-page bill, it officially creates the Natural Medicine Advisory Board, which had its first meeting last week and will help guide the rollout. It also creates a division within the Department of Revenue for regulating and licensing the listed fungi and plants.
The bill also lays out the criminal penalties for anyone who violates the law, including people under the age of 21 or who consume or cultivate any of the drugs in public. Fines and public service are possible for violators, while unlicensed cultivators who use hazardous substances could be charged with a felony.
As written in the bill, local jurisdictions would be prohibited from making or enforcing natural medicine laws that conflict with state laws. Private properties, however, could ban or regulate the cultivation of those psychedelics on their grounds.
Protections laid out in natural medicine bill
Some protections for consumers are spelled out in the bill. The proposed law provides that “an act involving natural medicine or natural medicine product” is not grounds for denying health insurance coverage, does not constitute child abuse or neglect, does not constitute grounds for organ donation discrimination.
Coloradans would also be able to have related convictions sealed. And the bill would expand state tax law, which currently helps cannabis licensees deduct expenses not allowed under the federal tax code, to natural medicine licensees.
Despite where required by federal law, the bill also spells out that natural medicine acts cannot be considered for public-benefits eligibility.
As written, the law would take effect on July 1.
The bill was assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. No hearing date was initially set.