Report: Legal Psychedelics In Colorado Have Not Increased Public Health Harms

This article originally appeared in the Frederic Research newsletter



Report: Legal Psychedelics In Colorado Have Not Increased Public Health Harms

  • Preliminary data on the public health and safety impacts of personal possession legalization of psychedelics in Colorado.
  • A new concept bill that could legalize retail sales of psychedelics through a personal license, similar to a medical marijuana card.

The preliminary report from Frederick Research has a few key findings:

  1. Less than 3% of drug-related crimes have involved hallucinogens for the past few years in Colorado. There’s been no noticeable increase since legalization.
  2. Psychedelics represent less than 1% of hospital incidences (like ER visits).
  3. Police and hospital representatives corroborate the available Colorado data
  4. Colorado’s experience is similar to the Netherlands, where largely unregulated retail sales and therapy services of Psilocybin have been legal for years.

Read more about Frederick Research’s advocacy strategy and this newsletter here.


So what’s this report about?

A lot of people have made doomsday predictions about Colorado, which legalized the personal possession of some botanical psychedelics last December with Proposition 122.

So, over the last few months, I’ve been collecting public data and talking to officials about how Colorado is doing since the change in law.

A more detailed report is published at Reason Foundation, where I am a senior research fellow.

I think the report proves that legalization of psychedelics is (so far) not a threat to public health or safety.


Were there any increases in crime in Colorado?

Greg report

Drug-related crimes are reported in Colorado’s uniform crime statistics database. As of May 2023, there is no noticeable increase in crimes involving psychedelics.


Wouldn’t there be less reported crime if hallucinogens are now legal?

Yes! This is why a staff member at the agency charged with overseeing the crime database suggested I look at DUIs, since it’s still illegal to drive high. DUIs are a good indicator of reckless behavior with drugs.

Greg report 2

Again, no changes in DUI’s with hallucinogens as of 2023.


What are the police saying?

Every law-enforcement agency that I reached out to said that psychedelics have not been a problem for public safety, and there was no noticeable changes after legalization.

“Psilocybin has not been a significant law enforcement issue in Denver either prior to or following the passage of Proposition 122,” Denver Police Department representative.


But, are people abusing psychedelics?

Abuse should show up in hospital data. In January, hallucinogens represented less than 1% of drug related incidents, like ER visits. The data was again corroborated by hospital officials.

Greg report 3

“Since proposition 122 passed last year, Denver Health has not seen an increase or decrease in incidences related to hallucinogens,” wrote a spokesperson for Denver Health


Isn’t it too early to assess the impact of Colorado?

I don’t think so; there’s already (a lot) of data from places where psychedelics are effectively legal. Psilocybin has been decriminalized in Denver since 2019; in Amsterdam, tourists can buy Psilocybin at the equivalent of a 7-Eleven and there’s a thriving psychedelic therapy cottage industry (I went, it was great).

In Amsterdam, one report found that Psilocybin represented less than 3% of ambulance calls and a fraction of crimes (about 30 incidences compared to ~1800 alcohol-related crimes).

The question is whether Colorado would be different from places where they are already widely accessible. So far, Colorado is no exception to the general trend of public health threats from legal psychedelics.


What bills are Frederick Research working on to advance legalization?

I designed a new model bill for a psychedelics “license”, similar to a medical marijuana card. It’s an idea I got from MAPS Co-founder Rick Doblin.

Basically, consumers would be allowed to purchase psychedelics at retail shops and consume them at home or with friends.

The concept bill is still in draft form (here) and we are actively seeking feedback while we circulate it among policy experts.


What are the next steps for legalization?

There are two:

  • We’ll need more research. This data is preliminary. I’ll be collecting more data from Colorado and other places to show how legalization is safe and effective.
  • We need to develop a campaign that is supported by political interest groups and voters. So, over the next few months, I’ll be presenting these ideas to policy experts and doing focus-group-like sessions with voters.

This will prepare a campaign for legalization in 2024-2025.


I’m interested in supporting your efforts. How can I get involved?

Contact me and share this newsletter widely. Profits from the newsletter subscriptions fund our efforts.

Frederick’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

The post Report: Legal Psychedelics In Colorado Have Not Increased Public Health Harms appeared first on Microdose.

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