Among dozens of well-known psychedelic applicants, many folks who are unknown to the community were chosen write Double Blind
olorado voters passed in November the “Natural Medicine Health Act,” which will create “healing centers” where adults over 21 can take mushrooms with a licensed sitter. The Department of Regulatory Agencies is slated to oversee the program, and the office of the Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently announced the 15 board members who will advise on rules.
The board is filled with the resumes of folks seemingly well-regarded in their fields, including a long-time paramedic, a Purple Heart recipient, three experts on indigenous use, five PhDs, two lawyers, a county commissioner, and a sheriff. On seeing the list, the collective response from the local psychedelic community—including a dozen or so people interviewed by DoubleBlind—could be summarized as: “Who?”
“No one known to us in the Colorado plant medicine and psychedelic communities received an invitation to serve, even while many were interviewed,” said Shannon Hughes, a professor at Colorado State University who has been organizing the monthly Psychedelic Professionals meetups in four cities for years through The Nowak Society. Dozens of people applied who openly live and breathe psychedelics: therapists and researchers, mushroom growers, retreat leaders, doctors, and advocates in political movements. This perceived snub of psychedelic applicants rankled many, especially folks who’d been around the scene for decades.
“I was disappointed that Colorado’s deep knowledge and experience with psychedelics is not well represented on this board,” said Dr. Scott Shannon. He’s a psychiatrist with a 40-year history in the field, having done MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the 1980s—before the drug was scheduled—and decades later as a part of trials, conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
DORA said 225 people applied. Being on the board is a crucial way to influence the look, feel, cost, and viability of the healing centers. The board will help set rules for sitter training programs, growing licenses, costs, and more. Three years from now, the board will also help decide whether to expand the roster of medicines at healing centers beyond psilocybin to DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline. The members await senate confirmation.
“The panel is not, publicly at least, a visibly well-informed group around psychedelics,” said Dr. Case Newsom, an emergency physician who speaks and teaches about psychedelics.
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Colorado Psychedelic Advocates are Confused About Who Was Chosen to Roll Out the State’s Psilocybin Program