Legalizing psychedelic mushrooms is on the Colorado ballot this fall. Here’s what the supporters, the opponents and the data have to say

When Denver resident Connie Boyd found out Coloradans will vote on whether to legalize psychoactive mushrooms this fall, she felt incredibly angry — and worried.

“My fear is that (Colorado is) going to legalize mushrooms and 10 years from now, there’s going to be a bunch of really sick people,” she said. “And the state 10 years from now is going to say: ‘Oh, gee, we’re sorry.’”

Boyd voted for cannabis legalization a decade ago. But her views changed after her son — a star athlete and student — reacted badly to trying edibles, an experience she said triggered lasting consequences.

“He had a severe psychotic episode,” she said. “At the age of 29, he was living in a nursing home for people with schizophrenia. It’s a very sad thing.” 


Kratom is the latest unregulated substance concerning Pennsylvania lawmakers

Among legislation Pennsylvania lawmakers will consider when they return to Harrisburg for voting sessions after an absence of more than two months is regulation of a plant-based substance that can produce opioid- and stimulant-like effects.

Although kratom and kratom-based products are legal and accessible in many areas throughout the U.S., including Pennsylvania, the Food and Drug Administration and other federal agencies continue to review emerging evidence to inform kratom policy, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Kratom is derived from leaves of a tree native to Southeast Asia and has become popular for various uses, including as a coffee-like stimulant and to fight pain and anxiety. Among the unapproved uses is for treatment of addiction; it’s believed that many of those who buy kratom are using it as a natural alternative to the prescription drug suboxone, which treats symptoms of withdrawal from opioids such as pain pills and heroin.

Get the full story at Reading Eagle

Lawmakers ask Parson to add marijuana legalization to special session

A bipartisan group of lawmakers and activists are calling for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to include marijuana legalization on the agenda of the legislature’s upcoming special session.

The group also announced the launch of a campaign aimed at defeating a marijuana legalization constitutional amendment set to appear on the November ballot.

The legislature is set to return to the Capitol on Sept. 14 to debate a $700 million tax cut plan laid out by the governor.

“Rather than settle for an ill-suited and monopolistic program shoehorned into our (state) constitution, the Missouri General Assembly has an unique opportunity to consider legislation that would legalize cannabis in a truly free market fashion,” said state Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-O’Fallon.

Read more at Columbia Missourian

Who’s behind Colorado’s magic mushrooms campaign?

Colorado could become the second state in the country to legalize and regulate the market for psilocybin and psilocin, the psychedelic ingredient found in so-called “magic mushrooms” – thanks to a Washington, D.C.-based group that has been pouring in millions of dollars to support ballot measures in Colorado.

Behind the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022 is an entity called New Approach PAC. Based in the nation’s capital, the group has put more than $3 million into ballot measures in Colorado in the last two years.

The PAC, for example, contributed $250,000 to the 2020 paid family leave initiative. The rest of its money went to the campaign committee Natural Medicine Colorado, which is pushing Initiative 58, which claims that magic mushrooms would be a tool to address mental health issues.

Keep reading at Colorado Politics

Setbacks arise in effort to protect consumer market for kratom

Recent headwinds have impacted the effort to protect consumers’ continued use of kratom, including the veto of a proposed law in Missouri regulating the botanical many addicts turn to when dealing with withdrawal.

“By defining ‘kratom product’ as a ‘food product or dietary ingredient,’ Missouri would violate federal law,” reads the July 1 veto letter from Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican. Parson also wrote he believed the law isn’t needed from a label and packaging perspective because the state already regulates those areas.

C. M. “Mac” Haddow, senior fellow on public policy at the American Kratom Association (AKA), a lobbying group, said Parson’s description of kratom as federally illegal “just isn’t true” and language in the veto letter was “surprising.”

Keep reading at Natural Products Insider

Kratom industry pushes Pa. lawmakers to improve safety for unregulated product used by millions

HARRISBURG — Representatives of the industry surrounding kratom, a largely unregulated substance used by millions of people in the U.S., are pressing Pennsylvania lawmakers to set up rules to keep unscrupulous operators out of the business.

Kratom is derived from leaves of a tree native to Southeast Asia and has become popular for various uses, including as a coffee-like stimulant and to fight pain and anxiety. Mac Haddow, senior fellow on public policy for the American Kratom Association, said the number of people using it in the U.S. likely has surpassed 15 million.

In Pennsylvania, the state House in late June passed a bill that would ban the sale of kratom to minors after a series of safety measures on its adult use were stripped out of the measure.

Keep reading at

Malaysia mulling legalising cannabis, kratom for medical purposes: Thai public health minister

BANGKOK – Malaysia is considering legalising cannabis and kratom for medical use, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday.

He made the remark after a discussion with Malaysia’s ambassador to Thailand, Jojie Samuel, on the issue at the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi province.

The discussion is considered a preparation to welcome Malaysia’s health minister who will participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Thailand of ministers responsible for health.

Anutin said Thailand and Malaysia have studied and exchanged knowledge about the two herbs so far. He added that Malaysia is studying its laws to legalise cannabis.

“If Malaysia announces cannabis legalisation for medical use, it will be the second Asian country to remove cannabis from the narcotics list,” he said.


States With Legalized Cannabis Have Fewer Synthetic Cannabinoid Poisonings

Each year, U.S. Poison Control Centers receive hundreds of calls related to synthetic cannabinoid poisonings. 

These drugs — with names like Spice, K2, and Mr. Nice Guy — can cause severeTrusted Source, life threatening health effects such as agitation, confusion, psychosis, and seizures.

Overall, synthetic cannabinoid exposures have dropped in recent years, Poison Control data shows — falling from a high of 7,792 in 2015 to 984 in 2021. That number continued to decline in 2022, with 313 cannabinoid exposures as of July 31.

Some researchers have attributed this decline, at least among adolescents, to increased federal regulation of these compounds, which has reduced their availability.

But a new analysis, published online on August 8 in Clinical Toxicology, suggests that the drop in synthetic cannabinoid poisonings may be due, in part, to the legalization of recreational cannabis in various states, which provides the option for many people to legally buy safer cannabis products, depending on where they live.

Read more at Healthline

First Cannabis, Are Magic Mushrooms Next?

Since the wave of marijuana legalization and decriminalization that swept the country in recent years, employers have grown concerned about whether employees are working while high on cannabis. Now they have something else to worry about: Are your workers under the influence of small doses of hallucinogens?

The spreading practice is called microdosing and consists of a person taking small fractional doses of these psychoactive drugs. Supposedly, these doses are not enough to soar into the stratosphere on what used to be quaintly called a trip, but just enough to be high while still being capable of functioning while at work and even driving—at least that is supposed to be the case.

Read the full story at EHS Today

Ascension Parish Council to consider possible ban on controversial drug Kratom

ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) – The Ascension Parish Council introduced an ordinance during a meeting on Aug. 4 to regulate the sale and use of the controversial drug Kratom.

According to the Department of Justice & Drug Enforcement Administration, Kratom is an herbal substance that can be taken as a pill, powder or brewed as a tea.

Supporters of the drug say its commonly used to treat pain or serve as an alternative to using opioids. However, opponents of the product argue that its highly addictive and dangerous.

“It can be used in the right way if people have the education for it, but that’s not what it’s being used for,” Tiffany Cooper said.

Get the full story at

5 States Likely To Legalize Psychedelics

This article was originally published on Psychedelic Spotlight and appears here with permission.

As psychedelics continue to gain mainstream acceptance, these 5 states have started the process to legalize psychedelics

Across the USA –as scientific evidence grows that psychedelics such as psilocybin are not only safe to consume, but also can be effective in improving mental health— states have begun the process needed to decriminalize or even legalize psychedelics for both personal consumption and for use in psychedelic healing therapy centers.

In this article, we are walking through 5 States that are Likely to Legalize Psychedelics in the Near Future.

Read the full story at

Lawmakers hear testimony from advocates, critics of kratom

FRANKFORT — A plant commonly known as kratom, which can lead to stimulant or sedative effects, spurred discussion among legislators Wednesday during a meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Health, Welfare, and Family Services.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), kratom and kratom-based products are now legal and obtainable in the United States, but international agencies are still gathering information about them.

During the 2022 legislative session, Rep. Josh Calloway, R-Irvington, sponsored House Bill 569, which would have prohibited a kratom processor or kratom retailer from dispensing, selling or distributing any kratom extract or kratom product to anyone under 21 years of age.

HB 569 did not pass this year, but Calloway told committee members that kratom use in Kentucky needs to be addressed due to safety concerns.

Read the full article at Richmond Register

Kratom, herbal extract banned in Wisconsin, might be legalized

Kratom, an herbal extract that is banned in Wisconsin and five other states, could be legalized in the state after a regulatory board agreed to provide guidance to the Legislature at the urging of a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The state’s Controlled Substances Board last week said it would study kratom, sometimes used to treat pain or manage opioid withdrawal, and make recommendations. The substance became illegal in a 2014 state law that mostly regulated cannabinoids such as CBD and those found in marijuana.

“We’re taking the approach of providing some guidance around kratom,” Doug Englebert, chair of the Controlled Substances Board, said during the board’s meeting July 15.

Read more at Madison

Controversial tree leaf target of increased scrutiny

On the shelves of head shops and convenience stores across the region, a controversial botanical from Southeast Asia is causing a stir.

Advocates describe it as a mild-acting pain reliever that has the potential to help reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Opponents characterize it as a potentially dangerous drug that can cause hallucinations and even psychosis.

It’s called kratom, and it’s legal for all ages in Pennsylvania.

“It’s pretty popular,” said Ann Marie Bossard, co-owner of Anthracite Newsstand in Wilkes-Barre. The store sells kratom in several forms, including powders, capsules and vapes. “A lot of people use it for arthritis, rheumatism, cramps and pain. They say that it takes the edge away. And we do sell quite a bit of it.”

Popular though it may be, government organizations have expressed serious concerns about kratom’s safety.


Parson rejects plan to regulate kratom in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Mike Parson has jettisoned a proposal designed to regulate kratom products in Missouri.

In a veto action announced earlier this month, Parson cited a number of reasons for opposing legislation that would have barred the sale of the drug to anyone younger than 18, as well as require sellers to ensure that their products do not contain dangerous substances.

Key to the Republican governor’s decision is the lack of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the substance.

In addition, Parson said in his veto message, “Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the FDA may seize food, drugs or dietary substances that contain kratom as being adulterated or misbranded.”

Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

FDA, FTC combine to tackle opiod claims in kratom warning letters

FDA and FTC have issued four joint warning letters to kratom companies centered on opioid claims. It’s a move that comes on the heels of FDA rejecting an NDI filing on the ingredient for the sixth time.

The companies involved are Herbsens Botanicals, Klarity Kratom, Kratom Exchange and Omni Consumer Products, LLC dba YoKratom. The warning letters were the result of an online search of the companies’ websites  and social media pages conducted in May and June 2022.

The warning letters allege that the companies have been making disease treatment claims on the products, which were sold primarily in capsule form.  Among the disease treatment claims were pain relief, blood pressure and depression indications.

Read the full story at

4 Kratom Companies Sent FDA Warning Letters

Silver Spring, MD—On June 30, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters, jointly with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to four companies selling kratom products. FDA stated that it has not approved kratom for the treatment or cure of opioid use disorder and withdrawal symptoms.

FDA also noted that it has received “concerning reports about the safety of kratom.” The agency is “actively evaluating all available scientific information on this issue and advises consumers not to use kratom or essential oils for the treatment or cure of opioid use disorder and withdrawal symptoms.”

The 4 kratom companies receiving letters:

  • Herbsens Botanicals
  • Klarity Kratom
  • Kratom Exchange
  • Omni Consumer Products LLC d/b/a YoKratom

Read more at Whole Foods Magazine

Pa. House passes ban on sale of kratom to minors; safeguards for adults not being considered – for now

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania House on Monday voted 197-3 to ban the sale of kratom to minors, after earlier legislative moves stripped from the bill safeguards for adults who use the substance taken from a tropical evergreen tree.

Bill sponsor Rep. Tracy Pennycuick, a Montgomery County Republican, said she was frustrated that the adult-targeted measures were taken out of the bill in a committee. She said they would be contained in a future bill.

Consumed in powder, capsule and beverage forms, kratom is a largely unregulated, but widely used substance. It can be mixed with things that make it more harmful, or have unpredictable effects if used in improper amounts.

“We have seen children in the ER,” Pennycuick said. “We have had children who have had seizures.”

Keep reading at

House Committee Leaders Tackle Marijuana Research, Kratom, Impaired Driving And More In New Spending Measures

House Appropriations Committee leaders have released yet another set of spending bill reports that touch on marijuana and other drug policy issues like kratom, with this latest batch focusing on cannabis research barriers, impaired driving and preventing use by youth and pregnant people.

Additionally, at a committee markup on Tuesday, members separately approved an amendment aimed at removing a federal funding cap to reimburse local and state police departments that are partners in a cannabis eradication program targeting illicit growers.

The newly released reports, meanwhile, cover funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, Transportation and Interior for the 2023 Fiscal Year.

Much of the report language centers on studying cannabis, including one section that reiterates the committee’s ongoing concerns about barriers associated with investigating Schedule I drugs like marijuana that “effectively limit the amount and type of research that can be conducted.”

Keep reading at

First pot, then magic mushrooms? Decriminalization is spreading

As cannabis legalization spreads across the globe, another mind-altering drug is trying to follow in its tracks: magic mushrooms.

Denver voted in May to decriminalize the fungus that contains psilocybin, a psychedelic compound popularized by ’60s counterculture. Oakland, California followed Denver’s lead a few weeks later and Oregon is trying to get a similar measure on the ballot for 2020.

Advocates say mushrooms have untapped medical potential that could be as big as cannabis, particularly for treating depression and addiction. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted “breakthrough therapy” status in October to Compass Pathways Ltd. to test the drug for treatment-resistant depression, expediting the development process. The London-based company says it’s now proceeding with a large-scale clinical trial in Europe and North America.

Read more at BNN Bloomberg