DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Secretary of State’s office recently announced an initiative looking to remove criminal penalties for having psychedelic mushrooms in Colorado has officially made it onto the November ballot. But there is another measure concerning the drug that’s still fighting for a spot, hoping to fill in gaps that supporters feel are missing from the measure with the secured spot.
Melanie Rose Rodgers is a co-proponent of Initiative 61. The initiative, which is not on the November ballot yet, would decriminalize the possession, cultivation, giving away and sharing of entheogenic plants and fungi.
“We believe no one should go to jail for possession of these substances. Right now in this moment of time, we are for decriminalization as the foundation of what’s going to come next,” Rose Rodgers said.
“Colorado was the first to legalize cannabis, recreational, adult-use licensing. But if you look at who owns all the licensing, it’s very inequitable. Social equity was an afterthought.”
Initiative 58, which is on the ballot, calls for what is commonly referred to as “magic” mushrooms to be sold from healing centers regulated by the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies.
The centers would be run by trained facilitators who are at least 21 and able to guide users through the process. Users would not be able to leave the centers until the effects of the mushrooms wore off. People previously arrested for possession of the drugs could file a petition with the courts to have those records sealed if this passes.
But Initiative 61 supporters worry the language of initiative 58 sets up a pathway for corporations to profit off users and did not include enough stakeholders of color.
“Let’s start with no one going to jail, let’s remove it from the Controlled Substance Act, let’s remove criminal penalties of these substances, then get all the right folks in the room, make sure there are definitely people of color, indigenous folks, legacy stewards and keepers of this medicine at the table in the very beginning and that did not happen with initiative 58,” Rose Rodgers said.
Natural Medicine Colorado is backing initiative 58. They told FOX31/Channel 2:
Colorado advocates have been collaborating on the Natural Medicine Health Act for more than a year now, and the final policy incorporated ideas and priorities from the many people and organizations who participated, including indigenous people and people of color. That engagement absolutely made the initiative better. We continue to have an open door for anyone has questions about the initiative or wants to join our coalition, because we know that will make the program stronger in the future too.Natural Medicine Colorado
The deadline to collect enough signatures to get Initiative 61 on the ballot is Aug. 8.
If they are not able to do that, supporters said they plan to educate the community about the potential consequences of passing Initiative 58.