Missouri legalized recreational marijuana in its 2022 midterm elections. Maryland preliminarily legalized recreational cannabis in its elections. Maryland just needs its General Assembly to pass laws governing cannabis in the state before the legalization takes effect. Missouri joins, and Maryland is on track to join, 19 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing adults to use marijuana recreationally.
Cannabis wasn’t the only drug whose recreational use was legalized in the 2022 midterms, however. Colorado voters unearthed a new bud.
In the midterms, Colorado legalized the supervised use of psilocybin (the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms) and psilocin (the compound psilocybin breaks down into once ingested). The state will allow adults 21 and older to use psychedelic mushrooms under supervision at a licensed healing center. This will happen through Colorado’s new “regulated natural medicines access program.” Before that program gets up and running, however, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies must pass rules regulating it. And the Department has until September 30, 2024 to do so. Therefore, legal, supervised use of psychedelic mushrooms in Colorado may still be a ways off.
Shy of legalization, Coloradans voted to decriminalize personal use of psilocybin, psilocin, and other psychedelics, including ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), and DMT (dimethyltryptamine).
Beyond Colorado, Oregon is the only other state to have legalized the use of a psychedelic drug. In 2020, Oregonians voted to legalize supervised use of psilocybin by adults 21 and older. However, in the 2022 midterms, many Oregon counties voted against allowing psilocybin use locally. Local use was not on the ballot in Oregon’s bigger cities, including Portland, Salem, Eugene, and Bend. Where psilocybin use is allowed in Oregon, however, it must happen at licensed service centers and be supervised by trained “facilitators.” Like Colorado’s program, Oregon’s service centers aren’t up and running just yet. But they’re close. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Section will accept applications to become a licensed psilocybin service center starting January 2, 2023.
Elsewhere in the 2022 midterms, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Arkansas voted against legalizing recreational cannabis use. But with Maryland and Missouri’s constitutional amendments, 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized–or are on track to legalize–cannabis.
Maryland and Missouri’s changes show that when states put cannabis on the ballot, they aren’t just thinking about people using it. These laws also allow states to:
- Make money by taxing cannabis sales;
- Build their economy by licensing adult recreational use businesses;
- Pursue equity by reforming criminal justice relating to cannabis sentences; and
- Create funds to invest in communities throughout their state.
The 2022 midterms continued the United States’ growing acceptance of cannabis and psychedelic use. Fox Rothschild LLP will continue to monitor developments in these areas of the law.
Note: This post was edited to clarify that Maryland’s legalization is currently subject to the General Assembly passing laws governing the use, distribution, possession, regulation, and taxation of cannabis within the state.