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Denver decriminalizes Magic Mushrooms

On Wednesday, May 8th, 2019, Denver decriminalized psilocybin, more commonly known as “magic mushrooms”, in a narrowly-won ballot race of a 50.6% majority. As the first state in the United States to legalize recreational cannabis and with a medical cannabis program that started in 2000, Colorado has long been a forerunner in the fight to legalize natural medicine. Hallucinogenic mushrooms have been categorized as a Schedule 1 substance by the federal government since 1970. Since 1971, people possessing any amount of ‘shrooms, regardless of the amount, could be charged with a felony.

If you’ve never dabbled in fungi for a fun time, you might be wondering what all the hype is about. According to the website of Decriminalize Denver, the group behind Initiative 301, “psilocybin is a powerful compound found in certain mushrooms. Humans have used these mushrooms for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight, strengthening community, and raising consciousness. Traditional cultures came to understand that these mushrooms were to be respected, used intentionally, and with community support. In this way, many people still responsibly use psilocybin to improve their mental health, gain insights, and for their general well-being.”

As someone who is a firm believer in the healing qualities of psilocybin, and someone who has microdosed for years to help combat anxiety, this is a huge win. In recent years, research has shown that micro-dosing psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA can help in the treatment of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and a number of other mental conditions that often require ongoing treatment and medication. Decriminalizing hallucinogenic mushrooms is the next step in the fight for natural medicine, which, like cannabis, many people are moving towards instead of committing to a lifetime of pharmaceuticals. Legalizing cannabis was never just about the weed, man… it was about the right to medicate using natural substances that shouldn’t be illegal in the first place. It was about the option to heal with a plant instead of pumping your body full of drugs, if you so choose (but please, know your body and what it needs…medication is important, and therapy is too). It’s about opening your mind to a new level of consciousness, of living moment to moment, looking around and experiencing life, instead of stumbling through your days like a sleep-walker. Just as with cannabis, as research and normalization dissolves the taboo around healing the mind and body with natural plants, more people are considering psilocybin as an option for their own personal healing and wellness.

So, mushrooms are now decriminalized in Denver… does that mean you can just walk down the street, chomping on ‘shrooms and tripping into the abyss? Not so fast, fun guy. Denver didn’t actually LEGALIZE psilocybin. I-301 just makes arresting anyone for personal possession, consumption or growth of mushrooms a low priority for law enforcement, basically therefore decriminalizing them. It also prohibits city funds from being used to prosecute these cases. I-301 does not change law enforcement’s work against distribution of psychedelic mushrooms, so they still aren’t legal to deal or sell. Also, keep in mind that this is only within the confines of the city of Denver, not the entire state of Colorado.

Sure, not everyone is super psyched about living in a world where mind-altering substances are more readily available, but I’m all for less “lock ‘em up” when it comes to drugs, especially ones that grow out of the ground (or in this case, out of cow poop). As always, let’s not forget about the people who have fought against the system for legalization, and the people that the system has imprisoned for having schedule 1 substances in the first place. There are still lots of folks, primarily men of color, in prison for a plant, and that needs to change. Normalization and legalization is a good start.


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