If you’ve been following the news in Colorado lately, you may have heard that the City of Denver is debating whether or not to decriminalize the use of psilocybin, better known colloquially as “mushrooms” or “magical mushrooms.”
It’s in the news on a fairly regular basis (check out the “further reading” section at the end of this post to find current information). So, what’s happening, and will mushrooms become legal in the State of Colorado?
Comparisons to the Legalization of Marijuana
Several groups, including the group “Denver for Psilocybin,” the campaign pushing for legalization, claim that mushrooms have medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Essentially, they want to do the same thing with mushrooms that has been done with marijuana: decriminalize possession (with limitations), allowing access for people who wish to use it, and destigmatizing use of the psychedelic drug.
Denver for Psilocybin claims they have enough signatures for the initiative to be added to the May 2019 municipal ballot, although at this point, the signatures still need to be verified by the elections office before that can happen.
As of now, the details of the law are unclear, but essentially the goal is to make possession and use non-criminal. The campaign for legalization follows in the footsteps of a successful marijuana legalization campaign, which focused on the medical benefits and emphasized the positive effects for people who suffer from anxiety and PTSD.
Will the Initiative Pass?
Of course, no one can tell what will happen in the future, but as far as I can see there’s a pretty good chance this measure will pass. At the same time, many people feel that the measure is unnecessary: in the last year, no one in the State of Colorado was arrested or charged with the possession of mushrooms. I admit that I find that surprising, but then again, I don’t specialize in this area of law.
As best as I can determine, there is no major opposition to the proposed law—and even if there were opposition, it would be irrelevant with a Democratic majority in the Colorado Senate, House of Representatives and governor’s office. Generally at this point in time in Colorado, the Democrats have a good chance of passing their agenda, as long as they stay united. This is demonstrated by the fact that gun laws and a repeal of the death penalty are progressing through the Legislative process. At this point, we have to wait and see what happens in May: if Denver voters approve the initiative, things could really change for the legal status of psilocybin in the state capitol, and eventually, for the country. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about how this change could affect not only the residents of Denver, but of Colorado, Oregon and Washington, and eventually the entire U.S.
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- Awad, Ann M. 2019, “Denver May Get to Vote On Whether To Make Magic Mushrooms Legal,” Colorado Public Radio, 5 March, accessed 7 March. https://www.cpr.org/2018/03/05/denver-may-get-to-vote-on-whether-to-make-magic-mushrooms-legal/
- Morris, Chris. 2019, “Denver Led the Charge on Legalizing Pot. Are Psychedelic Mushrooms Next?” Fortune.com, 20 February, accessed 7 March. http://fortune.com/2019/02/20/denver-magic-mushroom-vote/