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More States Legalizing Psychedelics

Health

Psilocybin mushrooms on pink bright colorful background. | Image by Cannabis_Pic, Shutterstock

Colorado recently became the second state in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin and psilocin, two mind-altering chemicals commonly found in psychedelic mushrooms. The measure, proposed by Natural Medicine Colorado, will take effect in 2024. 

Along with decriminalization, special state-led “healing centers” will open so people can be under supervision while on the drug. Of the 2.2 million Colorado ballots cast, 52% supported the decriminalization initiative. 

With decriminalization, Colorado residents over 21 are free to grow and share “magic mushrooms” including psilocybin and psilocin, and other natural psychedelics such as mescaline and ibogaine. DMT, an intense psychedelic often made synthetically, was also decriminalized.

In Oregon, voters decided to fully legalize psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic use in 2020. In the same measure, harder drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine were also decriminalized. Oregon’s move to take a softer stance on drugs was called the “biggest blow to the war on drugs to date” by Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. 

Those supporting the measure believed that psychedelics effectively treat people with mental disorders or terminal illnesses. A recent trial found that psychedelic mushrooms can help alleviate severe depression when combined with psychotherapy.

In multiple instances, treatments involving therapy and small doses of psychedelics were found to be successful in treating alcohol and opioid addiction. One study, completed at the NYU Langone Center for Psychedelic Medicine at NYU Langone Health, found that 80% of its alcoholic volunteers had significantly reduced their drinking habits eight months after a series of psychedelic therapies. 

Colorado’s proposition only passed by a slim margin, with numerous groups of opposers, such as the Protect Colorado’s Kids foundation. Those against the proposition argue that not enough has been done to justify the FDA approval of these psychedelics and that decriminalization may send the wrong message to children in the state. “This opens a very large national conversation about the role of the FDA in determining medicines in this country,” said Luke Niforatos, head of Protect Colorado’s Kids. 

Texas has not yet considered a measure that would decriminalize or legalize psychedelics, although it has started state-sponsored research into the potential benefits of these drugs. 

As Texas lags behind the rest of the nation in recreational marijuana legalization, it will likely be some time before Texans can legally enjoy psychedelics. 

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