ELECTION DAZE: Colorado initiative to legalize psychedelic mushrooms inching closer to victory

ELECTION DAZE: Colorado initiative to legalize psychedelic mushrooms inching closer to victory


Colorado voted on legalizing the use of psychedelic mushrooms, and the Nov. 8 ballot initiative to enact the measure looks on course to pass as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Associated Press has not yet called the race, but the ballot initiative to legalize private and clinical therapeutic use of the plant-based psychedelic has 66,000 more “yes” votes out of more than 1.9 million total votes counted.

If Proposition 122 passes, Colorado would be the second state, after Oregon, to decriminalize hallucinogenic substances found in mushrooms that are currently Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.

The ballot initiative would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms for those 21 and older and create state-regulated “healing centers” where participants can experience the drug under the supervision of a licensed “facilitator.” The measure would establish a regulated system for using “natural medicine,” defined under the law as psilocybin and psilocin, the hallucinogenic chemicals found in some mushrooms. 

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Colorado could become the second state, after Oregon, to legalize psychedelic mushrooms.
(AP Photo / iStock)

The initiative, which would go into effect toward the end of 2024, will also allow private personal use of psychedelic mushrooms for Coloradans over 21 and permit those individuals to grow psychedelic substances themselves.

Proposition 122, also known as the Natural Medicine Act, currently defines natural medicine as “certain plants or fungi that affect a person’s mental health and are controlled substances under state law,” according to language on the ballot.

In 2026, a handful of other psychedelic substances could be added to the list of substances falling under “natural medicine” once approved by an advisory board. These additional substances may include dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine, and mescaline.

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Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012. On Election Day in 2022, voters in Maryland and Missouri voted to legalize the substance as well, joining a growing list of states.

Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2012. On Election Day in 2022, voters in Maryland and Missouri voted to legalize the substance as well, joining a growing list of states.
(Paul Sancya)

Proponents of the law have touted the therapeutic benefits of so-called magic mushrooms in treating anxiety, PTSD and depression, among other mental health issues. However, critics argue the move will create risks to public safety, promote addiction and send the wrong message to children in the state.

The move comes a decade after Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, which gave rise to a highly lucrative industry in the state. Critics of Proposition 122 have argued that some of the deep-pocket, commercial interests that were behind the legalization of marijuana are now also behind the push for psychedelic mushrooms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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