Organizers turned in petition signatures Monday in an effort to put an initiative on the state’s ballots this November which would allow doctors to prescribe some psychedelic medicines to patients suffering depression and PTSD.

Colorado Natural Medicine, a Colorado ballot initiative group supporting the Natural Medicine Health Act or Initiative 58, announced at a press conference that they have submitted 222,648 signatures from state voters to the Colorado Secretary of State, in hopes that the initiative will be authorized for the November 2022 ballot. 

As required by the state constitution, 5% of the total number of Colorado voters from the previous Secretary of State race must be deemed valid in order for the initiative to be authorized for the ballot. Colorado Natural Medicine announced they had turned in 222,648 signatures, or about 98,000 more than the number required.

“We have been collecting signatures for 88 days,” said Kevin Matthews, who formerly worked on Denver’s local initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms back in 2019 and is a representative of Colorado Natural Medicine. “The process has been exciting. Most of the people we’ve spoken to support this [ballot initiative].”

Veronica Perez, co-designated representative of Colorado Natural Medicine, felt similarly. “It’s been absolutely fascinating,” she said. “It is a monumental thing we were able to accomplish.”

Also present and supporting Initiative 58 were spokespeople Dr. Sarah Abedi, a clinical researcher at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, and Luke Gruber, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“The traditional, standard antidepressants you’re usually taking every day, and a lot of times they are taking up to 4 to 6 weeks to work. What we’re seeing now with these treatment modalities is maybe 1 or 2 doses can be sufficient,” said Dr. Abedi. “I think a lot of patients, if they had the option, I imagine they would want to know if they could take one pill.”

The ballot initiative would allow state-regulated therapy systems to give access to psychedelic medicines for adults 21 years and older in the form of psilocybin, and with potential for expansion to include dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine, and mescaline (excluding peyote).

The ballot initiative does not allow for the recreational use of psychedelics or retail sale, and instead would be primarily regulated by standardized medicinal practice guidelines, training and licensing requirements, and state regulating systems under the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Medicines purchased for facilitated sessions could only be used under supervision, and could not be taken home for personal use.

“I think Initiative 58 is crafted the right way to keep it regulated,” said Mr. Gruber. “Fifty-eight is written the right way so that it still protects not only our youth, but also protects people with allowing research and regulations to continue.”