Millennials Tipped The Scales In Colorado Voting, And Psychedelics Laws Are In Their Crosshairs

(Part one of a three-part series)

Colorado became the second US state to decriminalize psychedelics via an initiative that legalized psilocybin use at regulated centers under licensed facilitators’ supervision. The initiative also decriminalizes personal use, growing and sharing magic mushroom components psilocybin and psilocin as well as natural entheogenic substances DMT, ibogaine and mescaline for adults 21 and over.

To get some insight into what the recently approved proposal entails, Benzinga spoke with Joshua Kappel, a founding partner at cannabis and psychedelic law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP. Kappel helped draft and co-wrote the initiative.

“The campaign really started with some of us here in Colorado wanting to provide healing access to natural psychedelics for the people of Colorado. That’s why we put together Prop. 122, to find a way to create access for everyone,” Kappel said.

He told Benzinga that the process encountered a “kind of as-expected” reaction from the establishment, which “generally lags behind the public when it comes to drug policy reform,” referring to what happened with cannabis legalization in Colorado.

“A lot of elected officials publicly opposed us, thinking it was a very political move. And maybe for them, it was, because some of them did really well in their races. But at the end of the day it’s just pretty standard for the establishment to sort of oppose breakthrough changes of the antiquated war on drugs,” Kappel said.

As for citizens, the “yes” votes were almost 5 percentage points ahead of the “no” votes. But, as Kappel said, it's also important to remember that this was a turning point. 

He added that if this same election was held next year, “yes” votes would have been 55% or 60% of the total, based on the changes and turnout. 

“What we know is that the people who support the most are the millennials, who are growing in size and they see the hope and need for more tools to address our mental health crisis.”

Colorado’s election - which began with early voting on October 17th and ran to the November 8th midterms - was “a very crowded time” for Prop. 122’s campaigners who tried to engage, reach voters and “get our message out there,” Kappel said, adding that many of them spent the campaign explaining to people "the healing potential of these natural psychedelics.”

Photo courtesy of Chones and Cannabis_Pic on Shutterstock and Wikimedia Commons.

Next up in the series: Colorado’s New Natural Psychedelics Decrim Regulations, A Reply To Some Of The Measure's Concerns

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