A newly passed Colorado initiative to decriminalize possession and limited use of psychedelic mushrooms and other plant-based psychedelic drugs was passed by Colorado voters on November 8, 2022. Known as the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022, the ballot initiative will allow supervised use of two specific compounds, psilocybin and psilocin, found in psychedelic mushrooms at state regulated healing centers.
The measure was put forward in response to growing trends in the use of psychedelic drugs to treat certain mental health disorders (e.g., depression and post-traumatic stress disorder). The initiative does not go into effect until 2024 which allows the state plenty of time to form its mandated Medicine Advisory Board to advise the Colorado legislature and other state entities on exploratory research and health benefits attributed to the limited use of psychedelic mushrooms and other plant and fungi derived psychedelic drugs.
The initiative is clear it does not weaken an employer’s right to maintain a drug-free workplace; specifically, providing that it does not “require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, or growing of natural medicines in the workplace.” In addition, Colorado law does not require an employer to accommodate use of cannabis in the workplace. However, employers will definitely be concerned about how the medically authorized use of psychedelic mushrooms will fit into the workplace picture.
Although the initiative does not go into effect until 2024, a change in the law, even though it may not directly impact internal policies, is always an opportune time for review to ensure compliance and that handbook and safety policies/procedures are in keeping with current company practices.