The month of May could see the city of Denver, Colorado, voting to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.
So far, an advocacy group has already collected a total of 9,500 signatures on a petition to get the measure to a vote in May of this year, according to a report by CNN. These 9,500 names represent more signatories than legally required to provoke a ballot measure.
As with the passing of any law regarding drugs, it is expected that the petition — and the vote — will spark some serious debate in the city. However, the recreational use of marijuana is already legal in Denver. How big of a step is it, really, to decriminalize magic mushrooms?
The group, Advocacy Denver, has issued a statement through their campaign director — Kevin Matthews — explaining why they decided the cause was important enough to put it forward at the ballots.
“We want people kept out of prison, families kept together. That was the main motivation for this. Denver has a strong history of drug policy reform. The timing is right, and we’ve modeled our language on this initiative after cannabis legislation in 2005 and 2007.”
Despite the required number of signatures having been acquired, the Denver Elections Division still has to verify the signatures before the measure can be added to the ballot.
CNN has also explained that “the measure would not legalize the use or sale of magic mushrooms in Colorado’s capital but instead would treat possession of the drug as the lowest law enforcement priority.”
— CNN International (@cnni) January 9, 2019
As things currently stand, mushrooms are classed as a Schedule I drug, which is on par with LSD and heroin.
Matthews explained that using magic mushrooms has helped him cope with his depression, arguing that mushrooms have “proven medical value and is non-addictive.” As far as Matthews is concerned, everyone could stand to learn a lot more about the beneficial uses of psychedelic mushrooms.
Jeff Hunt, vice president of public policy for Colorado Christian University — and director of the think tank The Centennial Institute — has a very different view of magic mushrooms, however. In a report by the Denver Channel, he argued that the high from mushrooms can last “anywhere from three to six hours,” and “wonders how far it will all go” if mushrooms are legalized in the city.
“It’s a terrible idea,” Hunt said. “Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world. The truth is we have no idea what the long-term health effects of these drugs are going to do to the people of Colorado.”
His statements have come on the back of not only legalizing weed in the city of Denver, but also creating supervised safe injection sites.
Oregon is another state looking at potentially decriminalizing mushrooms, with the state hoping to add a measure regarding the drug to the 2020 election ballot. While these two states are investigating removing magic mushrooms from the long list of illicit drugs, many other states are still debating whether or not the use of not just recreational marijuana, but also medicinal marijuana, should be allowed.