Colorado voters are decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms

DENVER (AP) — Colorado voters have passed a ballot initiative to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms for people over the age of 21 and create state-regulated “healing centers” where patients can experience the drug under supervision.

Colorado is the second state after Oregon to vote to establish a regulated system for substances like psilocybin and psilocin, the hallucinogens found in some mushrooms. The initiative, which would take effect in 2024, will also allow an advisory board to add more herbal psychedelics to the program in 2026.

Proponents have argued that the state’s current approach to mental health has failed and that naturally occurring psychedelics, used for hundreds of years, can treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, addiction and other conditions. They also said jailing people for the nonviolent offense of using naturally occurring substances costs taxpayers money.

Critics warned that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the substances as medicines. They also argued that allowing “healing centers” and allowing private use of the drugs and giving the wrong message to children and adults alike that the substances are healthy would endanger public safety.

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