In November 2022, Colorado voters passed Proposition 122, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022 (“NMHA”). Upon its passage, the NMHA legalized the use of “Natural Medicine” for adults 21 and older. Under the NMHA, the following substances are considered “Natural Medicine:”
- dimethyltryptamine (DMT);
- mescaline (excluding peyote);
- psilocyn; and
Notably, only psilocybin was legalized immediately upon the NMHA’s passage. The remaining substances will not be legalized until June 1, 2026. All remain illegal under federal law.
The NMHA has two main implications for the use of psychedelics in the state. First, it decriminalizes the personal use and possession of psilocybin, meaning that adults may use, possess, grow, and share it without a license. All retail or commercial sales of psilocybin remain prohibited.
Second, the NMHA creates a licensing regime that permits the regulated use of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (“DORA”) will act as the state licensing authority. Under the framework, a licensed “Facilitator” can lawfully provide “Natural Medicine Services” at an authorized “Healing Center,” as each term is defined by the law. The NMHA directs DORA—and specifically, the newly created Natural Medicine Advisory Board—to promulgate the NMHA’s implementing regulations. The NMHA sets forth the following timeline for implementation:
- January 31, 2023 – Governor appoints Advisory Board to make rules recommendations to DORA (initial recommendations by Sept. 30, 2023, updated annually);
- January 1, 2024 – deadline for DORA to adopt Rules regarding facilitator qualifications and training;
- September 30, 2024 – deadline for DORA to adopt additional implementing Rules and start accepting applications;
- June 1, 2026 – definition of Natural Medicine expanded to include DMT, Ibogaine and Mescaline (thus decriminalizing these substances); DORA may expand licensing program to include these substances if Advisory Board so recommends.
The future of psychedelic medicine in the state, and how its legalization will impact the healthcare industry, is highly uncertain. Colorado is only the second state to legalize psilocybin (after Oregon), and its permitted uses and regulatory framework are distinct from legalized cannabis. Given the uncertainties, our health law attorneys are keeping a close eye on this fast-developing area of law. If you have any questions or want more information about the NMHA, please contact one of the attorneys in our Health Law practice.
Natural Medicine Health Act: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2021-2022/58Final.pdf
DORA’s Natural Health Medicine Act Homepage: