Colorado Natural Medicine Advisory Board Sets First Meeting to Craft Psychedelic Rules
The mysterious board will advise Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) on rules for the supported adult use of psilocybin. It will meet on Thursday April 13th from 1 - 5pm Mountain Time
The Colorado Natural Medicine Advisory Board will hold its first public meeting on April 13, according to an email sent by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) at 2:31pm Eastern today. According to the announcement, the meeting agenda has not been finalized. The Board’s meetings will be open to the public with options for remote attendance. More information is available on DORA’s website for the Natural Medicine Health Act.
Governor Jared Polis appointed members to the Board on January 27, and you can read more about them in Colorado Appoints Natural Medicine Advisory Board to Shape Psychedelic Program.
Over the next year, the Board will advise DORA on making rules for implementing Proposition 122, the Natural Medicine Health Act, which voters approved in November. This ballot initiative was the first to pair the decriminalization of psychedelic substances with a regulated framework for the manufacturing, testing, and supervised administration of psilocybin.
Two years earlier, Oregon paved the way with two ballot initiatives. Measure 109 created a framework for the supported adult use of psilocybin. Separately, Measure 110 partially decriminalized many psychedelics and other controlled substances. But Colorado was the first state to combine decriminalization and regulation in a single ballot initiative.
The Colorado Board had a controversial start. Colorado psychedelic activists were surprised to see few familiar faces on the Board. Local organizations like the Nowak Society had submitted slates of preferred candidates, but despite their efforts, none were selected by the Governor. Though Polis appointed board members in January, the Colorado State Senate did not approve them until March 17, nearly two months later. Meanwhile, a major deadline looms on the horizon.
According to the Natural Medicine Health Act, the Board must make recommendations to DORA no later than September 30, 2023. By the time the Board meets, it will have fewer than six months remaining. The group must consider a wide array of issues in this rapidly diminishing timeframe, including—but not limited to—the following:
Accurate public health approaches regarding use, effect, and risk reduction for natural medicine and the content and scope of educational campaigns related to natural medicine;
Research related to the efficacy and regulation of natural medicine, including recommendations related to product safety, harm reduction, and cultural responsibility;
The proper content of training programs, educational and experiential requirements, and qualifications for psilocybin facilitators, the licensed professionals who will dispense psilocybin in Colorado;
Affordable, equitable, ethical, and culturally responsible access to natural medicine and requirements to ensure the regulated natural medicine access program is equitable and inclusive;
Appropriate regulatory considerations for each natural medicine and whether additional substances (mescaline, ibogaine, and dimethyltryptamine) should be added to the regulated psilocybin program;
Requirements for accurate and complete data collection, reporting, and publication of information related to the implementation of the regulated psilocybin program; and
All rules to be produced by DORA as required by Proposition 122.
The Board must move quickly to have any chance of fulfilling a significant portion of these mandates. Once a meeting agenda is set, DORA will post it on the Board website. Viewers can attend the meeting remotely.
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*The views expressed on Psychedelic Week do not represent the views of POPLAR at the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School or the Florida State University College of Law. Psychedelic Week is an independent project unaffiliated with these programs and institutions.
Mason Marks, MD, JD is the Florida Bar Health Law Section Professor at the Florida State University College of Law. He is the senior fellow and project lead of the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) at the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School and an affiliated fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Marks teaches drug law, psychedelic law, constitutional law, and administrative law. Before moving to Florida, he served on the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board where he chaired its Licensing Subcommittee. Marks has drafted drug policies for state and local lawmakers. His forthcoming book on psychedelic law and politics will be published by Yale University Press. He tweets at @MasonMarksMD and @PsychedelicWeek.