Crime, Culture

Colorado, California and Oregon Pioneer Efforts To Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

States in the USA have proven that issues like cannabis legalization can be successful at the ballot box and when lobbied against, activists are establishing a new front for legalization: magic mushrooms, psilocybin mushrooms or often times referred to as shrooms.

Social Media groups such as Denver for Psilocybin, led by Kevin Matthews, the organizer of a new ballot initiative in Colorado. Matthews’ initiative aims to take the question of decriminalization to the voters this fall and, if he’s successful, the city and county of Denver would allow residents to carry up to 2 ounces of dried mushrooms and grow up to 2 lbs at home.

Matthews submitted the final language of the initiative to the Denver City Council this month and expects to begin gathering signatures soon in order to make the November 2018 mid-term ballot.

Under the new regulations, psilocybin mushrooms would be placed among the lowest law enforcement priorities and would not carry felony charges or the threat of imprisonment to those whom offend. The most an individual could get for being caught with psychedelic mushrooms would be a $99 fine, which could increase by $100 for every subsequent offense up to $999.


Updated May 21, 2018:

As of March 25, 2018, three states are actively trying to decriminalize or legalize magic mushrooms and/or psilocybin. What’s the difference? See “Decriminalization vs Legalization & Mushrooms vs Psilocybin”.

The three states with initiatives in place are Colorado, Oregon, and California. We’ve summarized our understanding of the efforts below. (As always, please let us know if we could benefit from clarifying any of this information.)

Colorado: For Now, Just Denver & Only Personal Use.

The most comprehensive report on the movement for decriminalizing magic mushrooms in Denver comes from 5280, Denver’s Mile High Magazine.

The Boulder Weekly most recently reported on the efforts, noting that “earlier this month, representatives of Colorado Psilocybin met with Denver city officials to kick off a city-wide initiative that aims to have a decriminalization measure on the ballot this November.”

Passing the initiative would allow for personal but not commercial use of magic mushrooms in Colorado. She explains that it “would allow Denverites the ability to grow, possess, use and give away mushrooms without fear of consequences from city police.” However, “you wouldn’t be allowed to sell or buy them from a dispensary.” For information about commercial activity, see below.

Getting the measure on the Denver ballot will require collecting about 5,000 valid signatures. (This doesn’t seem very hard.)

Denver’s ABC7 also reported on the decriminalization efforts underway in Denver.

2019-2020 – Legalizing Psilocybin Across Colorado

Later efforts will seek legalizing the commercial use of psilocybin across the entire state of Colorado. Those efforts would also seek to legalize pure synthetic psilocybin. According to the Boulder Weekly (see above), the Colorado Psilocybin Initiative, “is aiming at a vote from all Coloradans — not just Denverites — in 2019 or 2020. They’re looking to legalize not mushrooms themselves but psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms, which can be synthesized.”

Psilocybin in Oregon — Only “Services”?

In Oregon, the Oregon Psilocybin Society appears to be seeking “access to Psilocybin Services in Oregon.” This access would meant mean that “any individual over 21 years of age, upon attaining medical clearance from a physician, could participate in a sequence of sessions, provided on-site at a state licensed Psilocybin Service Center.

The sequence of sessions would include, “at minimum, a preparation session, a psilocybin administration session, and an integration session. All sessions would be facilitated by trained and certified Psilocybin Service Facilitators who are registered with the state.”

The most interesting aspect of the Oregon movement is that the legalization efforts only appear to apply to a select group of state approved service providers, who would have a monopoly on administering psilocybin and/or magic mushrooms.

Psilocybin in California – Efforts to Decriminalize Psilocybin

In California, the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative is seeking to decriminalize (not legalize) psilocybin for all adults. According to the California Secretary of State’s website, the proposed initiative (if passed) would “Decriminalize use, possession, sale, transport, or cultivation of psilocybin (a hallucinogenic compound) by persons at least 21 years of age.” (emphasis added). See “Decriminalization vs Legalization & Mushrooms vs Psilocybin”.

Notably, the California initiative would apply to the “cultivation of psilocybin.” It’s unclear whether that would include synthetic psilocybin or only magic mushrooms. It is also unclear as to whether it would apply to mushroom extracts, isolates, enriched extracts, and/or formulated products — which can have substantially different effects.

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