Colorado Psychedelics Update: Natural Medicine Health Act Implementation Bill SB23-290 Amended During Public Hearing

By Joshua Kappel

Apr 21, 2023

SB23-290, the Natural Medicine Health Act (NMHA) implementation bill, had a hearing on April 20th in Colorado’s Senate Finance Committee. SB23-290 is an 87-page bill that expands upon the NMHA in a variety of different ways. Colorado Senate President Steve Fenberg did a thoughtful job of staying true to the intent and spirit of the NMHA. However, as noted in our previous post, many were concerned about some deviations in the re-write of the personal and community use portion of the NMHA, namely the express prohibition on the exchange of reasonable remuneration in religious and spiritual healing ceremonies.  

Listening to the concerns of the public, Senator Fenberg proposed amendments at the beginning of the hearing that cleared up a number of these concerns, including removing the express prohibition on remuneration in ceremonial use and the criminalization of common house plants. The bill with the amendments was referred out of the committee on a 5-2 vote. These amendments were a significant step in the right direction. And with a few more minor changes, it will be clear that SB23-290 not only stays true to the intent of the NMHA, but expands upon it with a focus on indigeneity, safety and equity.    

The next step for SB23-290 will be a hearing with the Senate Appropriations Committee where they will discuss this fiscal note. We can then expect two votes on the Senate Floor before the whole process starts again in Colorado’s House of Representatives, including another public hearing. If the bill is going to be passed, it must pass by the end of Colorado’s legislative session on May 8, 2023.  

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