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“A Little Goes a Long Way”: Decriminalized Psychedelics and Market Rollout in Colorado

By: Robb Corker

Psilocybe cubensis (above) are known to be potent producers of psylocybin and psilocin, two of the hallucinogenic compounds being decriminalized by the recent Colorado bill. Source: Andreu Garcia,

Colorado Gov. Polis must assemble an advisory panel by the end of the month to oversee the rollout of the decriminalization of several hallucinogens made legal to possess and consume in state-certified healing centers by Proposition 122.

Christopher Utroska is an account manager for Sparkplug, a company that works closely with the cannabis industry, and a veteran of the cannabis industry with several years of experience. Our discussion compared and contrasted the decriminilization of cannabis and psilocybin, and speculated about how decriminalized psychedelics could foster entrepreneurial opportunities.

Corker: How much crossover between the cannabis and newly-decriminalized hallucinogen industry do you foresee?

Utroska: A lot of the context that I have with established brands in cannabis, I think are anxiously awaiting this change—the decriminalization and movement towards legalization on the psychedelic side. There’s a lot of similarities as far as business model is concerned and coming from black market to gray market into full legitimate legal use. There’s just a lot of overlap between cannabis and psychedelics, so some companies have been planning for it.

Now, I don’t know exactly what it looks like in this phase being that it’s in a decriminalized state versus legal, but there are people ready and interested in standing up larger scale operations to support whatever the product needs are whether that’s going towards therapeutic needs or recreational needs.

Christopher Utroska
Account Manager for Sparkplug

Corker: Most o­­f the conversation around their decriminalization seems to focus on the mental health aspect. Do you foresee it becoming a recreational industry as well?

Utroska: I think it makes sense to get society familiar and comfortable; there has to be some control, has to be some limits to what’s allowed. The exact same thing happened with cannabis: initially it rolled out with a medicinal purpose and it’s evolved afterward into more recreational use. I think that hallucinogens will be similar in that way, the initial rollout. The easiest path will be more of the therapeutic side of it and I’m sure over time that it will evolve to more recreational access.

I think it’s an exciting time, and it’s hopeful that there’s some…practical execution of rollout.

-Christopher Utroska

Corker: Since it’s legalization in 2014, cannabis sales have topped 13.8 billion dollars. Do you think that the decriminalization of psychadelic mushrooms and additional plant-based psychadelic substances will have the same kind of economic impact that cannabis has had?

Utroska: I think it would be really tough honestly. I just don’t think from a personal use standpoint that even the psychedelic curious who have tried it before and even those who have never tried it before but would be open to it once its legal. It’s just not something I see people doing as frequently or incorporating it as frequently as they do cannabis and alcohol in their lives. I might be wrong about that. Who knows? Maybe people find it accessible and find ways to work it into their lives but it feels like the amount would be a lot more limited and therefore I don’t think it would achieve the same level of profitability.

The majority of people that are consistently using psychedelics day to day use small doses and use it consistently. But even then, I don’t know. It doesn’t take much to be able to do that. A little goes a long way in that space, and I just can’t see the money hitting the point that cannabis has hit.

Corker: Is there anything you would like to add?

Utroska: I think it’s an exciting time, and it’s hopeful that there’s some real good, practical execution of rollout because I do look at it as an opportunity. I do look at it as an important thing to make available to people that feel they would find benefit in it whether that be from a therapeutic standpoint or a recreational standpoint. So there’s that.

It could be really interesting…How many people are going to get exposure to an experience that they never would have considered? And of those people how many will have a positive impact from that? I think the likelihood is fairly high, as long as we’re being responsible as a society and as a state. It feels hopeful that it should be a positive outcome overall. I’m certain there will be challenges, but that’s anything. It’s never perfect.

Who are the everyday Joes and Janes that will find a way to incorporate or experience it in an awesome exciting way whether it be on a retreat or in their home? It will be fun for people to have that access and explore.





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