Colorado's Natural Medicine Regulation and Legalization Act (SB23-290)

Colorado's Natural Medicine Regulation and Legalization Act (SB23-290)

Posted by The Mushroom Champ on Jun 5th 2024

In November 2022, Colorado voters passed Proposition 122, setting the stage for the Natural Medicine Health Act (NMHA) of 2022. Following this landmark decision, the Colorado legislature enacted SB23-290 in 2023 to create a comprehensive regulatory framework for natural medicines. This act, effective July 1, 2023, ensures the safe and equitable use of natural psychedelic substances.

Key Aspects of Colorado Prop 122 and the NMHA

Proposition 122, or the NMHA, consists of two main components: regulated supported use and personal use.

Regulated Supported Use

The first part of the NMHA creates a legal framework for the supervised use of certain natural medicines—initially psilocybin and psilocin—at licensed Healing Centers with licensed facilitators. Retail sales of these natural medicines are not permitted. The scope of the regulated access model could expand to include other substances such as ibogaine, mescaline, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), pending recommendations from the Natural Medicine Advisory Board.

Personal Use

The NMHA also decriminalizes the state and local criminal penalties associated with growing, processing, consuming, and sharing psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, ibogaine, and DMT for personal use. This effectively allows individuals to cultivate and use these substances for personal and community healing without fear of legal repercussions.

Facilitators and Practices

Director's Responsibilities: The Director of the Division of Professions and Occupations is tasked with regulating facilitators, issuing licenses, promulgating necessary rules, and overseeing the implementation and administration of the NMHA. This includes investigatory and disciplinary authority.

Natural Medicine Advisory Board: This board examines issues related to natural medicines and provides recommendations to the Director and the Executive Director of the State Licensing Authority.

American Tribes and Indigenous Community Working Group: This group studies the effects of legalization and regulation on federally recognized American tribes and Indigenous communities, advising the Director and the Advisory Board.

Natural Medicine Division

Regulatory Responsibilities: The Natural Medicine Division within the Department of Revenue regulates and licenses the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, storage, distribution, transport, transfer, and dispensation of natural medicines. This includes businesses such as healing centers, cultivators, manufacturers, and testers.

Coordination with Public Health: The division collaborates with the Department of Public Health and Environment to establish testing standards for regulated natural medicines.

Legal and Civil Protections

Underage Possession and Use: Individuals under 21 who knowingly possess or consume natural medicines commit a drug petty offense, subject to fines or substance use education. Repeat offenses may include public service requirements.

Public Consumption: Public use of natural medicines is penalized with fines and public service.

Cultivation Requirements: Personal cultivation must occur on private property, adhering to security requirements. Violations incur fines.

Unlawful Manufacturing: Unauthorized manufacturing using hazardous substances is a level 2 drug felony.

Personal Use

Decriminalization: Personal possession, consumption, sharing, cultivation, and manufacture of natural medicines without remuneration are decriminalized, provided no other laws are violated.

Testing: Individuals over 21 can submit natural medicines for personal use testing without legal repercussions.

Law Enforcement and Civil Rights

Protection from Arrest and Prosecution: Lawful actions related to natural medicines cannot be grounds for arrest or prosecution, unless explicitly stated by the act.

Civil Penalties and Discrimination: Legal activities related to natural medicines cannot result in civil penalties, denial of rights or privileges, or asset seizure. These actions also cannot solely justify child abuse or neglect allegations, probation or parole violations, health insurance denial, organ donation discrimination, or ineligibility for public assistance, unless required by federal law.

Conviction Records: Individuals can file motions to seal conviction records related to natural medicines.

Taxes and Funding

Tax Deductions: State law allows licensed natural medicine businesses to subtract certain expenses disallowed under federal law (Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code).

State Appropriations: For the 2023-24 fiscal year, the act allocates $733,658 to the Department of Revenue, $101,150 to the Department of Law from the Legal Services Cash Fund, and $838,402 to the Department of Public Health and Environment.

Colorado's SB23-290 is a pioneering legislative framework that ensures the regulated and responsible use of natural psychedelic medicines. By establishing a robust regulatory system, providing legal protections, and prioritizing public health and safety, Colorado continues to lead in the field of natural medicine legalization.

For more detailed information on SB23-290, visit the official Colorado Legislature website here.