DENVER (KDVR) — In November 2022, Colorado residents voted to decriminalize the personal use of certain plants and fungi, “natural medicine” as it is called in the law, for people 21 and older.

They also voted to legalize access to natural medicine for people 21 and older within “healing centers,” or state-licensed facilities.

These healing centers aren’t available yet, but there is a timeline for when these centers will be able to start operating.

What is the timeline now?

Since November 2022, a few key steps have already been taken for the creation of healing centers. Namely, Gov. Polis appointed the initial Natural Medicine Advisory Board in January.

Some of the steps must be done “on or before” or “no later than” the listed dates:

  • Sept. 30, 2023 – The board will make initial recommendations to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). It will then make recommendations on an annual basis.
  • Jan. 1, 2024 – Rules for qualifications, education and training requirements for facilitators must be adopted.
  • Sept. 30, 2024 – Rules for the Natural Medicine Access program must be adopted. License applications for healing centers are open.
  • Dec. 31, 2024 – State licensing authority begins accepting or rejecting licenses.
  • June 1, 2026 – If recommended by the board, additional substances may be added to the approved list, including dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and ibogaine.

Originally, license applications needed to be accepted or rejected by the state licensing authority within 60 days of receipt. However, a law passed in 2023 slightly changed that, with the state licensing authority to begin granting applications starting on or before Dec. 31, 2024.

What did the 2023 law change?

SB 23-290, Natural Medicine Regulation and Legalization, changes a number of things from the original law voters passed.

Specifically, the law created the Division of Natural Medicine in the Colorado Department of Revenue.

This division will be able to create rules for the regulation of natural medicine and natural medicine businesses, as well as investigate and take disciplinary action.

One major aim of SB 23-290 was to help reduce any harm that might come to indigenous tribes and people because of the new natural medicine law.

An indigenous community working group will be created to establish a dialogue and identify issues related to the commercialization of natural medicine among other duties.