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What Does Decriminalizing Magic Mushrooms Actually Mean?

Denver became the first city to decriminalize mushrooms but what does this actually mean?

The campaign manager behind Denver’s vote said that they had left it initially vague on purpose.

Dan Bilzerian, known for his exorbitant lifestyle and a notorious internet personality and weed entrepreneur tweeted:

Denver legalized mushrooms. What a great thing.

It is great indeed but not what actually happened. Magic mushrooms appeared to be out of reach but in the end, was decriminalized in Denver.

Initiative 301

People over 21 years and older will be allowed to use magic mushrooms for personal use. The campaign also wants to prohibit spending on related penalties. However, this is not the same thing as legalization. Despite the vote, psychedelics are a long way from becoming legal in Denver and anywhere else. Advocates in favor of legalization weren’t even aware of what they had actually done.

One thing is for certain. The vote to decriminalize magic mushrooms will help remove the threat from law enforcement for individual consumers. Locals can possess and get high on shrooms without facing any punishment. However, getting access to magic mushrooms or where to buy it has not been resolved and may not be resolved for a while.

Chris Olson, a field organizer of the Denver Psilocybin Inititiative said,

This isn’t setting up a regulatory framework to sell psilocybin. That was a big challenge for us: differentiation between legalization and decriminilazation. Because, to most people, that doesn’t really mean anything.

The legalization in Denver may allow people to grow their own mushrooms without concern for legal punishment but only for personal use and possibly share with a small number of friends.

Noah Potter, a lawyer who helped craft the ballot says,

One of the more innovative aspects of this inititiative is at the point where the supply equals the demand. When the comsumer is also the producer- that demand of production here is also decriminalized.

However, if this were true, it is unclear how much magic mushrooms you can grow without attracting the attention of law enforcement.

Decriminalization is Not Relatively Clear

Kevin Mathews had said that they left it vague on purpose and didn’t include limits, specifically on cultivation because it is extremely difficult to measure from a law enforcement perspective.

For those that want to recreationally use shrooms in their daily lives is not relatively clear.

Matthews said that he will be contacting the city’s attorney’s office and schedule a meeting with them. He says that they have questions as to what personal use looks like and they “may draft a little addendum to be added to it.”

The Denver Police Department is working closely with the Denver City Attorney’s Office for assistance in the interpretation of the new law regarding the legalization of magic mushrooms. Their feedback will determine the training that will be needed for the officers to move forward.

In both Oregon and California, a review panel still has to be set up to keep tabs on implementation and will look into Denver as a model moving forward.

Legalization Was About Policing Rather Than Commercialization

People will be eager to compare the legalization of magic mushrooms to weed but they don’t compare in any way. Partly because of the distinct nature of both drugs and the history of their enforcement. Furthermore, nobody is advocating the recreational use of magic mushrooms as they had with marijuana.

Sam Kamin, a professor of marijuana policy and law at the University of Denver said,

There were not a lot of psilocybin arrests in Denver prior to this. And I think, in that way, it is different from marijuana.

People are still getting arrested for marijuana, and while there are very few people doing jail time for simple possesstion, it is something police can use to harass, or go through someone’s pockets. That just hasn’t really been true with psilocyin. But another imortant thing to remember is that marijuana legalization in Colorado started with decriminlization of it in Denver. I think some people have seen some parells here. But we’re certaintily not going to come up with the same commercial market.

Olson had suspected that the votes for legalizing magic mushrooms would have been higher if residents understood that the legalization was about policing rather than commercialization. In fact, recreational marijuana hadn’t arrived in the city without arousing anger in some corners.

If voters had grasped this then maybe they may have given the measure of legalization a boost, perhaps an even greater boost than the one Olson attributed to Michael Pollan’s 2018 book titled, How to Change Your Mind, a best-seller that introduced psychedelics to a wide range of audience.

A Work in Progress

The decriminalization of magic mushrooms was officially certified on May 16. Both potential mayors, Michael Hancock, the two-term incumbent, and his challenger, Jamie Giellis were currently in a runoff election. Both mayors had said that they would respect the will of the people.

Beth McCann, a city attorney had also said that she would respect the will of the people as well. For now, Mathews plans to advocate the public in Denver and other countries about the use of magic mushrooms and its benefits. It is a work in progress and something to look forward to in the future.

The decriminalization of magic mushrooms may not be widely understood but the idea behind the beneficial use psychedlics can bring to medicine has come a long way.

Scientists are now experimenting and researching the powerful effects of psychedelics and may be a stepping stone for personal use in the future. It may take a while for psychedelics to really be legalized just like marijuana where you can actually buy the substance in public rather than just using magic mushrooms privately.

Soon, other psychedelics might make their way into the public eye and may also be legalized. The legalization of other drugs may take some time though but I believe that it will be legalized since scientists are already seeing a breakthrough in the medicinal use of psychedlics.

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We Are in Desperate Need of Psychedelics

Experts point out that MDMA therapy may be legalized in as little as three years.

You gather around strangers and friends anticipating the effects of the psychedelics you just took to kick in. The effects begin to take effect and suddenly you are overcome with love. The crowd around you starts to yell out whatever comes to their mind and suddenly you follow.

Thousands of attendees are gathered around Lightning In a Bottle, music festival, and psychedelic culture living in tents. The crowd of people will participate in yoga, art, dancing, bodywork, swimming, roller skating, sound healing, and lectures like the one they are all gathered around for.

The Mainstream Needs Psychedelics

The lecture begins and Ismail Lourido Ali says,

You are the leader, the president and the people of your own internal country, what is the state of your union right now?

Ismail Lourido Ali, Shannon Clare Carlin, and many others preaching on the many benefits psychedelics have and the great potential for use in therapy. Ali begins by saying,

In terms of the state of our collective union, we know people are feeling a lot of isolation and separation from their communities, their families and from themselves. People are feeling meaninglessness, divisiveness and polarization.

With our modern world expanding and changing rapidly people today are feeling more anxious, depressed, lonely, addicted, and angry. Especially in the world we live in today and the pandemic affecting many worldwide people are now feeling isolated and everyone around them is an enemy.

Pharmaceuticals are profiting now more than ever but their side effects are unpleasant and many of these drugs do nothing long term.

Psychedelics have been growing in popularity and are needed more than ever. In these past recent years MDMA, psilocybin, ayahuasca, and ibogaine have been used to treat mental illnesses. The Wall Street and Stars and Stripes are on a psychedelic revolution.

Ayelet Waldman wrote a book, A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, detailing the beneficial experience she had with micro-dosing on LSD.

Michael Pollan’s new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence takes a look at the emerging science of psychedelics.

Psychedelics were considered dangerous and a threat to society but have now hit mainstream and many experts are starting to realize how beneficial they can be in therapy and our daily lives. Carlin and Lourido Ali and many MAPS researchers argue that the mainstream needs them desperately.

Carlin points out,

People are seeking meaning, purpose, personal growth, development, mindfulness and expansion, and there’s also a huge desire to heal. With psychedelics, we can sometimes borrow the courage to look at parts of ourselves we don’t want to consider because they’re not pretty. Psychedelics can also give us the inspiration to embody love and to celebrate. Humans need celebration.

The crowd at the music festival go wild as Carlin and Lourido Ali preaches about are desperate need of psychedelics today.

MDMA Could Treat Those With PTSD

Advances in psychedelic research are linked to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), founded by Dr. Rick Doblin in 1986, the research has focused on psychedelics as medicine and its benefits.

MAPS has solely focused on MDMA research in therapeutic settings and believes that it will be legalized by 2021. Lourido Ali works as MAPS’ policy and advocacy counsel and Carlin serves as the MDMA therapy training program manager.

As the crowd gathered around in a Shavasana pose for relaxation, Lourido Ali and Carlin tell them that their research is currently entering phase III clinical trials. In the United States, Canada, Israel, Brazil, The Netherlands, Colombia, Chile, Germany, the Czech Republic, and more, 200 patients will take part in these studies, and is one of the largest MDMA psychotherapy trials the world has ever seen.

MDMA assisted therapy has been used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Phase III psychotherapy trials saw groundbreaking improvements in patients with PTSD through 65 hours of MDMA assisted therapy in a period of 4 months.

This therapy is conducted by a pair of male and female clinicians working with a patient that has ingested 120 mg of MDMA. Eight-hour sessions of talk therapy begin once the effects kick in.

Research has demonstrated that once the effects kick in, the amygdala, a region of the brain related to fear are deeply decreased allowing the patient to discuss their traumatic experience without experiencing the trauma of that experience.

Many of these patients have pointed out that talking about their pain while on MDMA is revolutionary.

Carlin says,

Some people have never had someone willing to sit with them, give them attention and not judge them. Even our placebo group improves by 20 percent.

The 110 participants in the Phase III trials included veterans, police officers, and firefighters, a group that experiences suicide and PTSD at a very high rate. MAPS wants to expand its research to areas that need it the most. Carlin points out that there are more than a thousand names on the waiting list and people with PTSD cannot simply wait until MDMA is legalized.

It does not help that many still stigmatize MDMA and not allowing those in need to experience its beneficial effects. However, the US government is finally acknowledging its potential to treat PTSD.

Lourido Ali says,

The FDA has essentially told us that what we’re doing is important and that the science is good. They’re really trying to expedite the process and help us through this.

MAPS is working alongside Dr. Monnica Williams, at the University of Connecticut. She has consulted on trial recruitments and those who are trained as therapists. Her goal is to make this treatment available to all people, not just rich white people. Adolescents ages 13 to 17 will also be included in the treatments.

Many fear that they will have a bad trip but psychedelic professionals at MAPS point out that there are no bad trips, only challenging experiences.

Psychedelics Can Change The World

As MDMA breaks stigmatizing barriers, other psychedelics are also coming to light and being researched.

Ibogaine is being researched to treat opioid addiction which is in grave need today. The CDC estimates that 115 people die from an opioid overdose every day in the United States.

Other scientists are working with psilocybin to treat anxiety and MAPS is beginning trials on smoking marijuana for US veterans with PTSD.

Medicine is just one way that psychedelics can shape our world today. Music, art, television, and film are also a point of entry for psychedelics to become mainstream.

The goal is to create feelings of satisfaction and belongingness in our world today like so many at the Lighting In a Bottle festival feel.

Our world can change for the better, psychedelics could be the breakthrough we need for this change to happen.

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Denver Becomes The First City To Decriminalize Mushrooms

Joe Rogan and a couple of youth voters set the stage for decriminalizing mushrooms in Denver and possibly nationwide.

It quickly became apparent that most voters were interested in decriminalizing psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms than the incumbent mayor.

Tallies Are Pouring In Like Fire

The podcaster, comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan posted on Twitter and Instagram,

Denver! Today is the day you have a real chance at decriminalizing mushrooms. If you think this isn’t a big deal, it’s probably because you haven’t experienced what these amazing things can do for human consciousness. You folks have a real shot at getting the ball rolling in this country and opening up the hearts and minds of so many people. Today is a day that can literally change the world. – Joe Rogan –

Communications director for the Libertarian Party of Colorado, and one of the biggest endorsers of the initiative, Lance Cayko had expressed his support for decriminalizing mushrooms in Denver.

The decision was approaching fast, Kevin Mathews, campaign manager of the Denver Psylocibin Initiative, along with 200 others were also in favor of decriminalizing magic mushrooms. However, the results weren’t very promising. With only a one-half of one percent difference between yes and no voters, Mathews still had hope as there were still 40,000 voters to be counted.

Kevin Mathews and the rest were onto something, the final decision was looking good. Initiative 301 sought to decriminalize the use and possession of those aged 21 and above by making it the lowest local law enforcement and block the spending on penalties. This decision does not fully legalize the use of magic mushrooms or permit cannabis businesses to sell mushrooms.

The latest tally from the city’s official site had revealed 50.6% of the vote at 89,320 voters in favor and 87,341 against. Mathews called upon the potential mayors letting them know that he plans to push this movement along. The first task was to put together a policy review panel “to assess and report on the effect of the ordinance.”

The Decision

The mayor’s office had until December 2019 to sort out the decision, but Mathews was eager on speeding things up and planned to work with the Justice Department as magic mushrooms remain illegal under the state and federal law, as well as city officials, the police, and the sheriff’s office. He wants to provide the Justice Department with all the resources they need.

I’ll be lobbying at the Denver city and county buildings, probably starting tomorrow. – Kevin Mathews –

Kevin Mathews was a former west point cadet that was honorably discharged and dealt with major depression. This was especially true after his reality shifted as the army was no longer a viable option for him. After he had a positive experience with magic mushrooms Mathews began a grassroots campaign to get psilocybin decriminalized in the city of Denver.

Mathews measure according to the Denver Post was “likely put over the top” in the final stretches by young voters who likely vote closer to Election Day even though all registered voters received their ballots in the mail three weeks prior.

Psilobyin Showing Promising Results

Psilocybin was creeping popularity in the market as a breakthrough therapy last October. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the psychedelic psilocybin as a breakthrough therapy after a large number of institutions found promising results for the treatment of psychological conditions ranging from depression and PTSD. Research on magic mushrooms has also led to the revolution of a 79-year-old holocaust survivor who found that magic mushrooms helped him overcome his trauma.

The success in Denver was a close call, a triumph that almost failed at the last second, but nonetheless a win is a win. Kevin Mathews had accomplished what no one else in history has done before and has paved a way for the future of decriminalization in the United States.

Psilocybin Effects on Therapy

Charles Grob, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UCLA focused on research with psilocybin on cancer patients facing anxiety as their diagnoses progress. He states that psilocybin shows promising advancements for its potential therapeutic applications. These patients did not respond well to conventional treatments but had astounding progress with psilocybin. The patients that did not respond well to conventional treatments were those diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse problems.

What The Future of The United States May Bring

Mathews did not stop there. He wanted to get this on the ballet and decriminalize magic mushrooms nationwide. He set similar ballot initiatives in 2020 in Oregon. The secretary of state had approved the vote and may decriminalize mushrooms for the use in therapy. California is also working on decriminalizing magic mushrooms.

Noah Potter, a New-York based lawyer, and drug reform expert, who founded and runs the New Amsterdam Psychedelic Law Blog, is the general manager for the NYC Cannabis Parade and served as the chair for the New York Bar Association’s Committee on Drugs and the Law had stated that it was a “50-50 split” on the issue of legalizing mushrooms that have never been put to voters before.

Potter and Mathews worked together to decriminalize mushrooms after Mathews had initially failed to get it approved by the Denver Board of Elections.

Potter had stated that this will encourage organizers and help them recruit and raise money. Psychedelic mushrooms will change the background for all initiatives in the media coverage and could potentially create the opportunity in a more comprehensive, deeper, and holistic coverage of all drug issues.

Potter and Mathews were hopeful as there were no oppositions to the campaign other than that of the incumbent mayors, Michael Hannock and Beth McCann, Denver’s district attorney and top cop, a spokesperson had initially said that she will not back the campaign as they were still in the early stages of legalizing cannabis and could make Denver a magnet for psilocybin users. She did however back the claim that psilocybin can be used to study the effects of psilocybin in therapy.

Jag Davies, director of communications for the pro-reform Drug Policy Alliance stated that

There may not have been that much opposition because psylocybin doesn’t play a major role in the criminal justice system. – Jag Davies –

Kevin Mathews has paved a way into the future and the rest of the country will be looking to him, the city, and the members of the Denver Psilocybin Initiative to implement safety procedures and inform the public on the benefits and procedures. More importantly, it will change the views of people that have stigmatized the idea for decades.

The Oregon initiative had 47% yes voters and 46% no voters, Denver’s results could possibly increase the votes.

Mathews says that America is ready to take a closer look at psilocybin and that users should not be criminalized for possession or use.