It might come as a surprise that Denver recently legalized Psilocybin. After all, many states don't have full Marijuana legalization. In fact, recently in Florida, a grandmother was illegally arrested for possession of CBD oil, which is a legal consumable substance in the state. So when Denver made legal "magic mushrooms", it created two burning questions that need to be answered:
1) What is the point in making hallucinogenic mushrooms legal?
2) What are other states waiting for?
What is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound found in hundreds of species of mushroom. General effects on the human body include euphoria, hallucinations, perception alteration, time dilation, and in some cases, a sense of spirituality. Though prehistoric rock paintings depict early humanoids eating these psychedelic mushrooms, psychoactive medicine didn't officially come into practice until the 1950s, and it wasn't until 1959 when Psilocybin was isolated.
Studies of psilocybin in the 1960s yielded some very important information: psilocybin can be used to effectively treat depression, as well as addiction to alcohol, cocaine, and other hard drugs. Psilocybin has a low potential for abuse, and the average user will ingest psilocybin only a few times throughout their lifetime. And a user does not have to take Psilocybin multiple times to achieve effect; to quite the opposite effect, a one-time usage of “magic mushrooms” can provide a substantial mood or personality shift for years. Newer research is looking at using these “magic mushrooms” to help alleviate the stresses cancer medications can have on people. There are also theories that mental disorders, such as PTSD and OCD, can be lessened using Psilocybin.
There remains much studying to do. Much like marijuana and CBD, a schedule-1 classification in the early 1970s halted scientific research so there are still many applications to be tested. But Denver is betting on Psilocybin. The newly-passed bill, I-301 would decriminalize Psilocybin. It would still be illegal, but police would treat possession of Psilocybin mushrooms with the lowest priority. Denver would also not be allowed to use the city’s financial resources to prosecute Psilocybin-related charges.
Though this bill is set to pass, it does have critics. Much as people view CBD as an illicit drug without medicinal value, there are those who see “magic mushrooms” as a substance taken for recreational purposes and without medical value. With the passing of this bill, Denver will become the first state in the United States to have legislation decriminalizing Psilocybin and will hopefully revitalize efforts to decriminalize in Oregon and California.
UPDATE: in early June, Oakland CA became the second US city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.
-- Jacob Greenberg