The Colorado Legislature, which reconvened on January 10, is anticipated to grapple with significant issues related to marijuana and psychedelic substances in their upcoming session.
Following the legalization of medical psilocybin and the decriminalization of other natural psychedelics over a year ago, discussions around mushroom use are expected to be prevalent at the State Capitol, continuing the trend set by marijuana since its legalization for adult use in 2012.
In 2024, as legislators and officials devise regulations for psychedelics, they face a more complex landscape regarding marijuana. This year, the state legislature is expected to deliberate on five key psychedelics-related bills and topics.
THC Potency Debate Continues
The debate over the potency of retail marijuana has been a recurring issue in the Capitol for over five years. In 2021, a proposed bill aimed to limit THC levels in all marijuana products in Colorado to 35 percent. Despite negotiations, the bill that was eventually passed did not include a THC potency cap. Instead, it focused on limiting access to medical marijuana and THC extracts. Last year, the marijuana industry's effort to relax these restrictions, including daily purchase limits, was swiftly rejected by lawmakers.
Groups like Blue Rising Colorado and One Chance to Grow Up continue to advocate for stricter THC potency limits and retail regulations, citing concerns over youth mental health. Indications suggest that 2024 may see further legislative proposals regarding THC potency caps or alterations to marijuana industry regulations.
Dispensaries Seeking Diversification
Colorado's dispensaries, facing declining sales and rising marijuana prices, are exploring new strategies to boost business. One proposal, in development for over a year, would enable dispensaries to sell non-infused products like snacks, drinks, and possibly convenience store items. While the sale of liquor and tobacco remains unlikely, this move indicates a shift in dispensary operations, aligning more closely with liquor stores than the early cannabis co-ops.
Expanding the Psychedelics Conversation
Last year, the legislature passed the Natural Medicine Health Act, which addressed gaps in Proposition 122. This act covered several aspects, including cultivation limits for psychedelic plants and fungi, record-clearing programs for past psychedelic possession, and penalties for unlicensed psychedelic sales or distribution. These discussions and legislative actions reflect the evolving approach to psychedelics and marijuana in Colorado, signaling a year of significant policy considerations and potential changes.