A Movement to Decriminalize “Shrooms”


Recently, Denver became the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin, or what is commonly known as “magic”. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance that often causes the user to experience euphoria, a distorted sense of time, and changes in heart rate.

It didn’t take very long for other cities to follow suit; Oakland decriminalized the magic mushrooms just a few days ago. Furthermore, there will be a City Council vote on whether law enforcement should stop prosecuting individuals who use or possess drugs sourced from the mushrooms. The discussion will focus only on the use of psychedelics from plants, and not man-made substances such as LSD. In addition, the regulations will not prevent the actual movement of its sale or creation of dispensaries.

In support of psilocybin, advocates reference its use by various cultures throughout history. Its usage ranges from spiritual quests to therapeutic support for mental health issues such as PTSD. Also, the supporters stress that law enforcement will be able to better focus on higher priority issues. They hope to be able to send the initiative to the state ballot in 2020.

In light of this initiative, it will be interesting to see how law enforcement will adjust its impairment standards accordingly. The number of arrests for mushrooms is fairly low as compared to other drugs. However, California, for example, is already facing issues with its standards for THC. It is important that enforcements be made appropriately in this situation. There might be some difficulty in changing a system that was originally made to keep certain drug users out of jail.

Granted, I am no science expert. I can’t say that I understand how impairment is determined. However, my understanding is that onsite sobriety tests and breathalyzers can only give general information. Further blood or urine tests are the only ways to actually determine what drug is in a person’s system. So, if a person is using mushrooms recreationally, will there be an efficient way to single out psilocybin use versus LSD?

We are already seeing problems with the legalization of THC without proper legal precautions established. Because of these problems, things are moving quite slowly. I would hate to see people get caught in legal loopholes created from a system not yet ready to handle the situation.

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