In a bold and unprecedented move, Denver, Colorado is poised to become the first U.S. city to decriminalize “magic mushrooms”.
Although this doesn’t mean they are legal, technically, Denver residents have voted yes on Initiative 301, which deprioritizes criminal prosecution for possession and personal use of psilocybin, which is the active ingredient in psychoactive mushrooms and truffles. This applies only to people 21 years of age or older.
“It’s surreal,” said Travis Tyler Fluck, a field organizer for the campaign to pass the measure. “People just don’t see it as a threat, compared to the ‘sinister’ LSD, magic mushrooms are tame.”
The initiative specifically prohibits the city and county of Denver from spending resources to take legal action against people using mushrooms. It barely passed with 50.56 percent voting in favor. A big part of the reason this inititiave was even introduced in the first place is because magic mushrooms are a miniscule issue in Denver anyway.
According to The New York Times, less than 60 people are arrested annually for possession of psilocybin mushrooms and only 11 cases were prosecuted over the last three years. That said, the sale and distribution of magic mushrooms remains illegal and carries heavy penalties.
Of course, as with any substance-related initiative, there are quite a few critics, most of which believe that legalizing any substance paves the way for increased drug use and crime. They also point to risks of psychological damage caused by psilocybin.
But on the flip side, supporters cite the recently discovered benefits of microdosing for treating certain conditions such as depression and anxiety. It’s also being looked at as a potential treatment for addiction to other substances (ironic considering claims from critics). Plus, most people believe they should have autonomy over what goes into their own bodies.