Colorado Senate and Two House Committees Pass Psychedelics Bill

Colorado’s full Senate and two House committees have passed a bill to create a regulatory framework for legal psychedelics including psylocibin (magic mushrooms), ibogaine and DMT.

Psilocybin mushrooms (aka "magic mushrooms").

Psilocybin mushrooms (aka “magic mushrooms”).

Earlier this week The Colorado Senate voted 25 to 10 to pass Senate Bill 23-290, sending it to the House. On Thursday the measure was passed through the House Finance Committee 8 to 2, and today it was passed by the House Appropriations Committee in a unanimous 11 to 0 vote. It’s now been sent to the House floor for consideration.

The legislation is in response to a voter-approved initiative that legalized certain psychedelics while tasking the legislature with establishing a regulatory framework. Proponents of the measure are working to get it approved through the legislature prior to the end of the session on May 6.


The bill would place no possession limits on the personal use of psilocybin, ibogaine, mescaline, DMT and psilocyn, for those 21 and older. Consuming these substances in public would be a civil infraction but not a criminal offense, punishable by an $100 fine.

Under the bill the state would issue four categories of licenses, including testing facilities, healing centers where certain psychedelics can be consumed, cultivation facilities and product manufacturers.

The measure would create the natural medicine advisory board (board). The board’s duties include “examining issues related to natural medicine and natural medicine product, and making recommendations to the director of the division of professions and occupations and the executive director of the state licensing authority.”

The bill requires the director of the division of professions and occupations to:

  • Regulate psychedelic facilitators and the practice of regulation, including issuing licenses for facilitators;
  • Promulgate rules necessary for the regulation of facilitators and the practice of facilitation; and
  • Perform duties necessary for the implementation and administration of the “Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022”, including investigatory and disciplinary authority.

The bill creates within the department of revenue the division of natural medicine for the purpose of regulating and licensing the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, storage, distribution, transport, transfer, and dispensation of natural medicine or natural medicine product between natural medicine licensees. The bill requires the division of natural medicine to:

  • Regulate natural medicine, natural medicine product, and natural medicine businesses, including healing centers, cultivators, manufacturers, and testers, and issue licenses for such businesses;
  • Promulgate rules necessary for the regulation of natural medicine, natural medicine product, and natural medicine businesses; and
  • Perform duties necessary for the regulation of natural medicine, natural medicine product, and natural medicine businesses, including investigatory and disciplinary authority.

The bill also requires the department of revenue to coordinate with the department of public health and environment concerning testing standards of regulated natural medicine and natural medicine product, and requires a sunset review for the articles governing the department of regulatory affairs and the department of revenue in the regulation of natural medicine, natural medicine product, facilitators, and natural medicine businesses.

The bill states that:

  • A person who is under 21 years of age who knowingly possesses or consumes natural medicine or natural medicine product commits a drug petty offense and is subject to a fine of not more than $100 or not more than 4 hours of substance use education or counseling; except that a second or subsequent offense is subject to a fine of not more than $100, not more than 4 hours of substance use education or counseling, and not more than 24 hours of useful public service;
  • A person who openly and publicly consumes natural medicine or natural medicine product commits a drug petty offense and is subject to a fine of not more than $100 and not more than 24 hours of useful public service;
  • A person who knowingly cultivates natural medicine shall do so on the person’s private property, subject to area and physical security requirements. A person who violates this provision commits a drug petty offense and is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.
  • A person who is not licensed to manufacture natural medicine product and who knowingly manufactures natural medicine product using an inherently hazardous substance commits a level 2 drug felony;
  • Unless expressly limited, a person who for the purpose of personal use and without remuneration, possesses, consumes, shares, cultivates, or manufactures natural medicine or natural medicine product, does not violate state or local law, except that nothing permits a person to distribute natural medicine or natural medicine product to a person for certain unlawful purposes;
  • Unless expressly limited, a person who performs testing on natural medicine or natural medicine product for another person who is 21 years of age or older who submits for testing natural medicine or natural medicine product intended for personal use does not violate state or local law;
  • A peace officer is prohibited from arresting, and a district attorney is prohibited from charging or prosecuting, a person for a criminal offense under part 4 of article 18 of title 18 involving natural medicine or natural medicine product, unless expressly provided by the bill;
  • A lawful action related to natural medicine or natural medicine product must not be the sole reason to subject a person to a civil penalty, deny a right or privilege, or seize assets;
  • A lawful action related to natural medicine or natural medicine product must not be used as the sole factor in a probable cause or reasonable suspicion determination of any criminal offense; except that an action may be used in such determination if the original stop or search was lawful and other factors are present to support a probable cause or reasonable suspicion determination of any criminal offense;
  • The fact that a person is entitled to consume natural medicine or natural medicine product does not constitute a defense against any charge for violation of an offense related to operation of a vehicle, aircraft, boat, machinery, or other device;
  • A local jurisdiction is prohibited from adopting, enacting, or enforcing a conflicting law;
  • A person or entity who occupies, owns, or controls a property may prohibit or otherwise regulate the cultivation or manufacture of natural medicine or natural medicine product on or in that property.

“My takeaway from the testimony is that ballot measure 122 is controversial,” said Representative Judy Amabile, one of the bill’s sponsors. “It has a lot of aspects that some people like and ot has aspects that the people who like some parts of it don’t like. It has parts that nobody likes.”

Amabile says that “this was voted on by the entire state of Colorado, and the voters spoke and the voters passed ballot measure 122. So now it is our job as the legislature to implement the will of the voters.”

The bill states that an act involving natural medicine or natural medicine product that is performed by a person:

  • Does not solely constitute child abuse or neglect, or grounds for restricting or prohibiting family time;
  • Does not solely constitute grounds for denying health insurance coverage;
  • Does not solely constitute grounds for discrimination for organ donation; and
  • Must not be considered for public assistance benefits eligibility, unless required by federal law.

The bill makes a person eligible to file a motion to have conviction records related to natural medicine or natural medicine product sealed immediately after the later date of final disposition or release from supervision.

You can find the full text of the proposal here.

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