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Decriminalization of Psilocybin, or “Shrooms” Suggested by Denver Citizens

Decriminalization of Psilocybin, or “Shrooms” Suggested by Denver Citizens


On Monday, March 5, approximately twenty activists met at the Denver city and county building to meet with city officials about psilocybin, more commonly known as “shrooms” or “magic mushrooms” (Awad, 2018; Kim, 2018).

The measure the “Colorado for Psilocybin” activists are looking to pass would decriminalize the possession of psilocybin so that “instead of a felony charge, a person found with two ounces of dried shrooms, or two pounds of ‘wet’ shrooms, must pay a fine of up to $99 for the first offense,” (Kim, 2018; Awad, 2018). The fine would increase by $100 for each subsequent offense, but is ultimately capped at $999.

Proponents of psilocybin use cite many studies—done by such places as Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and London’s Imperial College—showing that the natural substance is helpful in the treatment of depression, cancer-related stress, alcohol use disorder, and cigarette smoking (Awad, 2018; Kim, 2018). Neuroscientist Michele Ross, who joined the activist group, stated, “I use many different natural substances, but psilocybin is one thing that helps me overcome depression in a way that cannabis hasn’t” (Awad, 2018). Kevin Matthews, the leader of the campaign, explained, “It’s helped me tremendously with my own mental health and on top of that, with creativity, and really being able to just explore different aspects of myself, and really get some healing from the inside out” (Kim, 2018).

The meeting on March 5 was a public hearing to discuss “phrasing and other questions about the initiative” (Awad, 2018). Next steps will include submitting petition materials for review and then—if the Denver Elections Division gives its approval—“gathering signatures to get the initiative on the ballot this fall” (Awad, 2018).

Awad, A. M. (2018). Colorado may get to vote on whether to make magic mushrooms legal. Retrieved from https://www.cpr.org/news/story/denver-voters-magic-mushrooms-legal
Kim, V. (2018). Denver activists working to decriminalize psilocybin. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/denver-activists-working-decriminalize-psilocybin