Colorado Governor Pushes For Mass Psychedelics Pardons At Event That Also Featured Pro-Reform Former GOP Texas Governor

June 23, 2023 ·

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) is calling on lawmakers to take steps allowing him to issue mass pardons for people with prior psychedelics convictions as the state prepares to implement regulations for legal use of substances like psilocybin and ibogaine.

At a the MAPS Psychedelic Science 2023 conference in Denver on Wednesday, the governor—as well as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)—spoke about the therapeutic potential of entheogenic plants and fungi, advocating for legal access.

Polis, who recently signed a psychedelics regulations bill to fulfill the will of voters who approved a legalization ballot initiative last year, said that he wanted to take the lead on psychedelics clemency. And he also believes that the substances should be covered under federal health insurance programs.

The governor said he needs the legislature to act to provide him with pardon authority, “so anybody who has something on their criminal record that is now legal can have that expunged and doesn’t hold them back from future employment opportunities,” Axios reported.

He added that it’s “still ridiculous that in this day and age somebody suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD can get medical coverage for very costly prescription drugs but cannot get coverage for a treatment in a healing center that will address some of the underlying causes of the issue.”

The governor also called on the legislature to pass legislation to make it so Colorado statute automatically adjusts if the federal government revises rules around psilocybin. Doing so, he said, could translate into insurance coverage for psychedelics therapy.

“Yes, that’s right. People will no longer need to go to Mexico or Colombia. They can come right here to Colorado,” he said, adding that he doesn’t have a “person connection” to psychedelics, but his support is “values-based.” He believes it’s a matter of “autonomy.”

Perry and Polis might be on politically opposite sides of the spectrum on some issues, but the event underscored that psychedelics isn’t one of them.

The former Texas governor also drew a contrast between himself and the prior speaker, MAPS Founder Rick Doblin.

“You’ve seen the light. I’m the dark, knuckle-dragging, right-wing former governor of the state of Texas,” Perry said, playing into the fact that Doblin was wearing all white while he was dressed in black. “The idea that he and I are together is a bit of magic.”

The conservative figure might not currently support full-on psychedelics legalization, but he said he became invested in exploring the substances as therapeutic tools after discussing the issue with former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, whose brother is U.S. Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX). The congressman recently spoke about his own experience receiving psychedelics treatment and also secured an amendment to promote research into the substances as part of a military bill on Wednesday.

“The reason I am on this stage today—and hopefully a lot of you are this way—is because you had the courage to understand that your reputation is not more important than these young people’s lives,” Perry said, according to Westword. “Let’s look at what the results are. Let’s not look at what the government tells us. Let’s not look at what somebody tells us is right and wrong.”

“No one’s political reputation is more important than lives we can save,” he said. “That’s why I am here with you all advocating for availability of psychedelic medicines.”

Perry—who took some by surprise after advocating for a Texas bill to require studies into the medical use of psychedelics for veterans in 2021—also spoke at the Strength In Numbers gala that was hosted by Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) that year.

“As one of America’s most conservative and prominent retired governors, Perry demonstrates the potential to achieve a great consensus to advance psychedelic therapy access in the United States,” Eapen Thampy, a lobbyist working on psychedelic therapies, told Marijuana Moment on Thursday. (Full Story)

In categories:Mushrooms Psychedelics
Next Post

Congressional Committee Approves GOP-Led Marijuana ‘Pilot Program’ And Psychedelics Study Amendments To Military Bill

A congressional committee has approved a large-scale defense bill that includes GOP-led provisions to create a medical marijuana “pilot program” and require a study into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for active duty military members under the U.S. Department of…
Previous Post

Denver Psychedelic Conference Focuses on Regulatory Processes, Science

High costs and regulatory hurdles still need to be overcome by psychedelics industry. Business opportunities in the world of psilocybin, MDMA, and other mind-bending substances are still limited, but that doesn’t mean the industry is standing still, as demonstrated by…
Random Post

Amnesty Program for Cannabis Licenses? - Should States Offer a Window for Illegal Cannabis Operators to Get Licenesed?

In a highly anticipated development, the third round of licensing for D.C.'s expanded medical cannabis program officially commenced last week, as reported by LJ Dawson for The Outlaw Report. On the initial day of the application period, the Alcohol Beverage and Cannabis…
Random Post

5 Cannabis Laws to Watch in 2023

As we closed out 2022, we saw the federal government pass its first standalone cannabis law, the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, with more possible federal reform on the horizon. On the state level, the industry has seen an…
Random Post

Colombian Senate falls short in bid to legalize recreational marijuana – for now

Colombia’s Senate failed to approve a legal framework to regulate recreational marijuana sales, making it the latest country to fall short in a bid to bring illegal cannabis sales into the regulatory fold. A majority of Senators actually voted to approve the…
Random Post

Atai Advances R-Ketamine Through Phase 1 Bridging Study, Update And Near-Term Expectations

Clinical-stage biopharma company atai Life Sciences  ATAI-6.00%+ Free Alerts announced the dosing of the first subject in majority-owned subsidiary Perception Neuroscience’s Phase 1 intravenous-to-subcutaneous bridging study of proprietary R-ketamine, PCN-101. Open-label, the trial is set to assess safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile of 60mg,…