As Colorado Shifts Focus To Psychedelics, Some States Go The Other Direction

This month, Colorado bolstered the framework for legal psychedelic use, Maryland became the 21st state to legalize recreational cannabis, and Florida went the other direction – banning doctors from prescribing, and patients from using, medical marijuana in sober living facilities.

The Cannabis Report – July 5th, 2023
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    As Colorado Shifts Focus To Psychedelics, Some States Go The Other Direction Hannah Leigh

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The new bill governing psychedelic mushrooms, SB23-290, went into effect on July 1st. One legislator joked that the bill — which puts certain guardrails and details around newly legalized psychedelics — was a bill that everybody hated. But lawmakers felt the bill was necessary to ensure proper implementation of the voter-approved Proposition 122.

The bill limits the size of personal mushroom grows and clarifies what’s legal in terms of sharing and selling homegrown product. It shifts regulatory authority for legalized healing centers to a different agency within state government and bars local governments — some of which wanted more control over psychedelics in their areas — from stepping in.

In other states, Maryland became the 21st state to legalize cannabis for recreational use on Saturday. The law will allow Maryland residents aged 21 and older with a valid government ID to purchase and possess recreational marijuana for use in their private residences. And Connecticut residents 21 and older can grow up to six cannabis plants, though each household is restricted to 12.

At the same time, Fla. Gov. Ron Desantis (R), a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, has signed a bill that expressly prohibits sober living facilities (defined as a residence for individuals who recovering from substance abuse disorders) from allowing them to possess or use medical marijuana, even if the patient is certified by a doctor to legally use cannabis therapeutically in accordance with state law. All other doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical medications may be permitted, however.

The governor signed the legislation, SB 210, on Tuesday—and he separately gave final approval to a hemp regulations measure that bans the sale of legal smokeless hemp products to people under 21. Residents may use other pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by doctors, so the law explicitly singles out medical marijuana.

And a recent Forbes article indicates it might be a long time before it’s legal across the country: Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said last week that he is working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration “to try to see if we can give the president an answer that’s based on the science and the evidence.” Becerra continued: “Stay tuned. We hope to be able to get there pretty soon—hopefully this year.”

But for the state-regulated cannabis industry, the dream of federal legalization has been a nightmare. Folks cannot sell or distribute product over state lines and profits are crushed by a punitive federal tax rate created for drug traffickers. Every state has different rules.

The stock prices of cannabis companies are down 75% since 2020, when the outlook for legalization was positive. After 2022 ended without any significant reform, reality set in: despite cannabis legalization being hugely popular with voters—more Americans voted for marijuana legalization in Arizona (60%) than for Biden (49.4%) and more people in Mississippi voted to legalize medical marijuana (73%) than supported Trump (58%) during the 2020 election—it is not a priority inside the Beltway.

About Leland Rucker:

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi, and The News Station. Leland has been keeping KGNU listeners up-to-date on cannabis news for nearly a decade.




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    As Colorado Shifts Focus To Psychedelics, Some States Go The Other Direction Hannah Leigh

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Hannah Leigh

Hannah Leigh has been a volunteer and staff reporter, host, and digital producer for KGNU since 2012. She's also a professional podcast producer and freelance reporter.

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