Denver's Psilocybin Initiative is moving forward after the Denver Election Division accepted the initiative which would decriminalize personal use, possession and growth of psychedelic mushrooms in Denver. The next step will be gathering 4,726 signatures in order to get the initiative on the May 2019 Denver ballot.
If the bill makes it to the ballot and passes then the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative would allow for personal use, possession and propagation of psilocybin mushrooms for adults 21 and over the "city's lowest law-enforcement priority" and "prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties" for personal use, possession and growth. In addition, a "psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance" would be established. This review panel would resemble that of the already-existing panel for legal marijuana.
Colorado, of course, was one of the first states, along with Washington to fully legalize marijuana for recreational as well as for medicinal purposes, but even before then marijuana was decriminalized as far back as 2005. The campaign director of Denver for Psilocybin, Kevin Matthews, is hopeful that this could be all for the good. "This is a landmark moment for Denver, for Colorado, and for the country. We have an opportunity here to make some real impact and change in people’s lives."
The group has been working on a psilocybin initiative since March but was unable to get the item on the municipal ballot for the November election. The proposal language was deemed excessive in regards to exempting Denver citizens from state and federal drug laws, hence the "low priority" rather than full legalization.
Currently, the federal government has opened up some research on psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA (ecstasy) despite the fact that they are still technically classified as a Schedule I drug meaning it has no "accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." Schedule I drugs include heroin and, surprisingly, marijuana. To put things into perspective, despite multiple studies showing many benefits of THC and CBD, cannabis is considered schedule I while methamphetamine is marketed as Desoxyn and considered by the FDA to be suitable for children 6 and up.
Colorado already allows "prescribing" psilocybin through the Right To Try Bill which allows terminally ill patients to use psilocybin-based treatments after all other options have been attempted. A 2016 study suggested that "psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer."
The study also drew correlations between use of psilocybin and decreased risk of opioid abuse as well as pointing toward a possibility of lower crime rates and lower stress in users. Psychedelic research such as the Transpersonal Psychologists' "LSD Psychotherapy" were revolutionary in their time with some patients with depression and neuroses saying they felt finally free mentally. Even classic Hollywood actor Cary Grant underwent LSD psychotherapy.
For the first time in decades, FDA is finally allowing research on psychedelics for various conditions such as depression and PTSD. Considering the fact that Ketamine was also recently approved for use for those with depression it could be a sign that attitudes regarding the use of psychedelics may be shifting.