After helping to start the legalized cannabis trend, the city of Denver might try to stick its toe into legalizing psychedelics. The Elections Division of Denver has announced that a measure to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms will be on the city’s ballot this May.
The measure comes from Decriminalize Denver, a group dedicated to the specific purpose of letting people trip out on mushrooms in peace. If passed, the initiative would make the use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms adults 21 and over “the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority” and “prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties” on adults using mushrooms.
The ordinance would also create a psilocybin mushroom policy review panel which would track and report on the effects of decriminalization.
The group exceeded the 4,726 signatures necessary to move the measure to the next phase. High Times reports that the possibility of voters passing the initiative is “well within reach.”
“I’m extremely optimistic,” said Kevin Matthews, head of Decriminalize Denver. “Just from speaking with people on the street while collecting signatures, a majority of them pretty much went down one of two avenues. It was either: ‘psilocybin’s been the only thing that’s helped with my depression, my cluster headaches,[or]
it saved my relationship.’ Then there were others who said, ‘I don’t believe anybody should be criminalized for something that grows naturally. So, of course I’ll sign this.’”
Acceptance for the medical use of psilocybin and other psychedelics certainly seems to be on the rise lately. The book How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan, which looked into the recent resurgence in psychedelic research, went to number one on the New York Times bestseller list last year.
Decriminalize Denver gives medicinal value as part of its justification for decriminalizing magic mushrooms, citing studies which say that psilocybin is associated with decreased opioid dependence, decreased violent and property crime, and decreased distress and suicidality in populations.
Photo via Flickr user Bernard Spragg, NZ