Psychedelic Drug Laws in Colorado (2021)

Phil Dubley Last Updated: October 15, 2021

Colorado is considered one of the more “relaxed” states when it comes to psychedelics and plant-based substances.

It was the second state to legalize marijuana for recreational use (just four days behind Washington) and the home of the first US city to decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms (Denver).

Here, we’ll explore the current state of affairs when it comes to psychedelics and other psychoactive substances.

Magic Mushroom Laws in Colorado

Despite a growing number of studies showing their low abuse potential and medicinal value, magic mushrooms are illegal in Colorado.

That said, this state is one of the most progressive when it comes to psychedelic drug laws. 

In 2019, voters in the city of Denver approved Initiative 301. This referendum decriminalizes the use of psilocybin by those over 21 years of age.

This doesn’t mean magic mushrooms are legal. It merely removed the mandatory jail sentence for being found in possession of magic mushrooms in favor of a small fine.

The spores of hallucinogenic mushrooms are legal and even sold for research purposes. This is because they do not contain any illegal substances. However, the moment they germinate, they become illegal again.

Do Magic Mushrooms Grow Wild in Colorado?

Yes, you can find magic mushrooms all over the world, with the exception of Antarctica.

Due to its mountainous areas, Colorado is home to many species of magic mushrooms. The most common one is Psilocybe cubensis, which is mainly found in Colorado Springs. On the other hand, you can also find other species such as Psilocybe cyanescens and Panaeolus cambodginiensis.

Magic Mushroom Laws USA

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Legalization Status

What Are the Medicinal Uses of Shrooms?

More and more medicinal uses of magic mushrooms keep arising. Thanks to this, many voices favor the legalization of mushrooms in North America and Europe.

Research supports the idea that psilocybin can be used to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), improve problem-solving and creativity, and so much more.

In 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine were the first to discover that psilocybin treatment paired with other kinds of psychological support may be able to reduce existential anxiety in patients diagnosed with terminal illness.

Finally, psilocybin has been suggested to help control or prevent cluster headaches. This occurs in sub-perceptual doses (microdoses), which would indicate a mechanism of action different from its psychoactive effects.

LSD Laws in Colorado

In Colorado, it is illegal to use, sell, manufacture, transport, or possess LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). Under Colorado state law, possession of LSD is considered a misdemeanor.

Possession of more than 4 grams of acid (4 million micrograms) can lead to 6 to 18 months in jail and $500 to $5,000 in fines.

On the other hand, selling this substance corresponds to a felony, which can bring up to 32 years in prison.

MDMA Laws in Colorado

MDMA illegal in the state of Colorado. Its use, possession, or sale is punishable by severe fines or even imprisonment.

However, more and more studies support its therapeutic use. For this reason, several states in the country are moving to legalize for administration by trained psychiatrists and other health practitioners.

MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) has been leading the way in the field of MDMA research and is on the brink of having it approved by the FDA for the treatment of PTSD.

Ketamine Laws in Colorado

Ketamine is illegal in Colorado for recreational use but legal for therapeutic use.

Many states have moved to legalize ketamine for therapeutic use. It’s an approved medicine for the treatment of depression and PTSD.

There are dozens of ketamine clinics in operation in the cities of Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs.

What’s The Difference Between Legalization & Decriminalization

Many people tend to confuse decriminalization with legalization — but they aren’t the same thing.

When we talk about decriminalization, we refer to the fact that the penalties for possessing or consuming the substance are significantly reduced, not eliminated.

Legalization refers to the complete absence of penalties for possession but may require some regulations for how much one can possess, where they buy it, and how old they need to be in order to get it.

Most likely, in Colorado and other US states, psychedelics will be decriminalized, not legalized.

Key Takeaways: What’s The Future of Psychedelics in Colorado?

As noted above, Colorado seems to be on the path to the decriminalization of psychedelic substances and the legalization of certain psychedelics for medical use.

We don’t think a substance with this much proven therapeutic potential can be kept illegal for much longer.