Colorado voters will decide this November whether physicians in the state will be allowed to prescribe psychedelic medicines for treating certain mental health conditions in qualifying patients, following a formal review and the recent approval of a proposed ballot measure by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Elections Division.
Colorado Natural Medicine, the group organizing the ballot initiative effort, announced that Initiative 58, or The Natural Medicine Health Act, had received their “Statement of Sufficiency” on July 21 after submitting over 200,000 Colorado voter signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State in late June.
Initiative 58 does not allow for the recreational use of psychedelics, the retail sale of psilocybin mushrooms (magic mushrooms), or the unfacilitated personal use of prescribed psilocybin mushrooms.
Instead, The Natural Medicine Health Act would create access to psilocybin under the regulations of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and would allow physicians to prescribe psychedelics to patients 21 years and older suffering from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The Natural Medicine Health Act if passed would allow regulated access to psilocybin mushrooms in 2024. Colorado Natural Medicine has said that in 2026 they would work to include other psychedelic medicines.
In early June, Colorado Times Recorder interviewed Dr. Sarah Abedi, a clinical researcher at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute on her thoughts surrounding psychedelic medicines. “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.”
“We’re deeply proud of the work that has led to this moment,” said Kevin Matthews, who formerly worked on Denver’s local initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms back in 2019. Matthew, representative of Colorado Natural Medicine. is one of two designated representatives for the initiative.
“These medicines hold such promise for people struggling with PTSD, depression, and other mental health challenges,” Matthews explained. “As we deal with a growing mental health crisis in our state, we need new tools to help Coloradans heal, and these are research-backed therapies that can work even where other treatments have failed.”