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Denver might decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms

Published Apr 29th, 2019 1:16PM EDT

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As more and more U.S. states embrace marijuana, tearing down decades of anti-weed propaganda in the process, some cities are considering approaching other low-risk recreational drugs with a similar mindset. Denver, which has become a major hotspot for recreational marijuana enthusiasts as well as those who promote the medical benefits of the plant, will soon vote on loosening its rigid laws regarding psychedelic mushrooms.

The proposal, called Initiative 301, wouldn’t make “magic mushrooms” legal, but it would decriminalize their possession, effectively minimizing any penalty for possessing the plants for personal use. The vote will take place on May 7th, and while the city (and state) seem to be getting along fine with legalized pot, not everyone is on board with lax laws regarding other psychoactives.

As Vox reports, if the movement passes it would deprioritize efforts to prevent possession of psilocybin mushrooms, but growing and selling them would still carry the same penalties.

Those who favor a less strict stance on magic mushrooms tout them being a harmless, non-addictive recreational drug, often citing research that seems to indicate the plants may possess some incredible mental health benefits when used correctly. The compounds in the mushrooms that are capable of producing hallucinations have even been shown to be effective at treating conditions such as migraines, but their legal status has made studying their potential difficult.

Opponents of the measure suggest that decriminalizing magic mushrooms — combined with the legalization of marijuana in the state — could cause a spike in drug use. Individuals who have had negative experiences with the drug, particularly those with persistent mental health issues, should serve as a warning sign, critics say.

If the measure passes, Denver will become the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. Even if the initiative passes, it would seem unlikely that much will change, especially considering the sale and distribution of the plants will still be a criminal offense, but we’ll have to see how it all plays out.