A Colorado group is trying to decriminalize magic mushrooms for recreational and therapeutic use.
Keeping up the momentum that cannabis legalization set, a Colorado group is trying to decriminalize magic mushrooms. Representatives of Colorado Psilocybin met with Denver city officials this week to discuss a possible ballot measure.
The new law would eliminate penalties for small amounts of psychedelic mushrooms. Members of the group chanted “Free the spores!” while filing into the Denver City and County Building.
The new law would do away with all penalties for possession of less than two ounces of dried mushrooms.
Only fines would be levied against those caught with larger amounts. More than two ounces, or two pounds of uncured mushrooms, would subject offenders to a fine of $99 for a first offense.
The fine would increase by $100 for each subsequent violation. Fines would be capped at $999, regardless of the number of offenses.
Kevin Matthews is an activist that helped write the Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative, as the measure is known. He told local media that he uses psilocybin as a medicine.
“I’m proud to say that psilocybin has had a pretty massive impact on my life,” he said. “I struggled with depression for years, I was diagnosed with major depression as a teenager.”
Matthews added that mushrooms also help to foster creativity and introspection.
“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.”
Dr. Michele Ross is a neuroscientist and another supporter of the proposed ballot measure. She also believes in the medicinal benefits of psilocybin.
She uses mushrooms and cannabis to treat depression and PTSD.
“I use many different natural substances,” said Ross,” but psilocybin is one thing that helps me overcome depression in a way that cannabis hasn’t.”
Ross is the Founder and Executive Director of Impact Health, a Colorado non-profit studying cannabis and women’s health.
She believes that psilocybin advocates can look to the legalization of medical marijuana as a model for success.
Colorado voters legalized cannabis for medicinal use in 2000. A ballot measure legalizing recreational pot passed in 2012.
“We could apply lessons from cannabis legalization and apply them to psilocybin legalization,” she said.
“There’s no reason that both shouldn’t be legalized because psilocybin or magic mushrooms are just as safe as cannabis.”
Tyler Williams co-founded the Psychedelic Club’s chapter in Denver. He is also a supporter of the Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative.
He believes the issue is one of personal freedom.
“I’m a big believer in cognitive liberty, and so whatever people decide to consume I think is up to them,” he said.
“I think people should be informed about what they are consuming, and they shouldn’t have to be afraid of going to jail for that.”
The ballot measure has many hurdles to clear before it becomes law. Activists and city officials worked on finalizing the language of the measure this week.
Supporters will then create a petition and submit it for approval to the Denver Elections Division.
The campaign could then begin gathering signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
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