UNITED STATES – Citizens in the U.S. call for decriminalizing Psilocybin, commonly referred to as “Magic Mushrooms” or “Shrooms.” Medically legal now seems possible with Colorado passing decriminalization by a tight margin.
What Are Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybin may have been depicted as early as the Stone Age in rock art in Europe and Africa. It is most famously represented in the Pre-Columbian sculptures and glyphs discovered throughoutout Central and South America.
Psilocybin has a history of being used in ancient world cultures for ceremonial, religious, and medicinal purposes.
“Magic Mushrooms” are hallucinogenic or psychedelic drugs. People who “Trip” on shrooms report that colors become more vibrant and seem glowing. They notice surfaces glittering or an unusual richness of texture. It is expected that people in shrooms will smile uncontrollably and feel giggly. Along with all this, users have reported seeing geometric shapes.
Magic Mushroom Prohibition
Psilocybin mushrooms were first made illegal in the U.S. in 1968 because of “the excessive amounts that were being abused.”
However, even though Psilocybin and psilocin were made Schedule I Drugs in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the mushrooms themselves are not scheduled. But, possession of mushrooms that contain Psilocybin is illegal because they include Schedule I drugs.
The spores, however, are not illegal in most states because they do not contain the active drug ingredient found in mature “Magic Mushrooms.”
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Denver, Colorado and Magic Mushrooms
An activist group in Denver, Colorado, collected more than 8,000 ballot petition signatures back in January, possibly nearly 9,500 signatures for an initiative to have the people of Denver vote to decriminalize Psilocybin, or “Magic Mushrooms.”
The group’s campaign raised around $45,000 on Monday evening on May 6 and didn’t face much-organized opposition in Denver to their pro-Psilocybin initiative.
Initiative 301 was held to a vote on Tuesday, May 7, and it passed with a narrow margin of 50.56% in favor and 49.44% opposed.
It passed, and the initiative made Denver the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize the hallucinogenic plant for people 21 or older and made it,
The lowest law enforcement priority in the City and County of Denver.
Denver will initialize a review panel on the effects of decriminalized Psilocybin, similar to how Colorado has a review panel for marijuana in that way.
Decriminalizing Denver’s primary goal is for people not to be arrested and go to jail for using the drug.
In 2012, Colorado voters approved legal marijuana and possession for those over 21; legal cannabis sales began in the state on New Year’s Day in 2014.
It looks like the Psilocybin initiative may have gone too far for those opposed, even for people in Mile High City, where voters passed legislation to decriminalize cannabis possession back in 2005. However, it did pass by a slim margin and could catch on in other U.S. states to do the same.
Oregon and Magic Mushrooms
Oregon activist groups will need to collect 112,200 valid petition signatures by July 2020 to place Petition 12 on the state ballot in 2020.
The initiative would be a first for the U.S. and would legalize the use of Psilocybin, but only when taken under the supervision of therapists.
However, as wweek.com reports, there has been some controversy surrounding this, and it isn’t coming from ordinary voters but the pro-Psilocybin groups themselves.
The chief petitioners behind the initiative, Beaverton therapists Tom and Sheri Eckert, have filed two complaints with Oregon’s secretary of state.
The Eckerts allege that a disgruntled former campaign employee named Christopher Abrahamsen has been improperly soliciting what would otherwise be campaign funds and hiding away valid signatures needed to put “Shrooms” on the ballot.
Abrahamsen runs a non-profit named Mushroom PAC 2020 and says the group is another avenue for the legalization of Psilocybin.
The Eckerts say the group is an effort to siphon away their fundraising and to undermine the campaign to collect signatures.
For a long time, Oregon has been a haven for people who prefer the state’s relaxed stance towards mind-altering substances. Oregon decriminalized cannabis back in 1973, and in recent times the state first legalized medical cannabis, then recreational use.
In 2017, Oregon generated $78 million in tax revenue from recreational cannabis. They are expected to get a heavy boost in Mushrooms tax revenue if the legislator is passed.
California and Magic Mushrooms
The California Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative (#17-0024) could not qualify to appear on the state ballot on November 6, 2018, but that hasn’t slowed down supporters on the initiative.
California activists are now trying to find legislative assistance for such an initiative to appear on the state ballot in 2020. Similar to the group in Denver’s name, the pro-Psilocybin group in the state goes by Decriminalize California.
The 2020 measure would also establish a ten-member review board which would be able to provide,
Guidance on the formulation of dosage guidelines and testing protocols, and establish the groundwork for the drafting of future regulations.
Before the organizers can start gathering signatures on the measure, they will need to put together the proposed language certified by the state attorney general’s office.
After that, 623,212 valid signatures from voters would be needed for the measure to qualify to be on the ballot.
A formal initiative is in the works, and Ryan Munevar of Decriminalize California says that,
Once the draft is done, we will give it to other states that might want to do something.
The most significant factor for why the initiative didn’t make it to the ballot in 2018 was the unrealistic expectation that Marina, California mayoral candidate Kevin Saunders proposed to allow the sale of Psilocybin.
“Magic Mushrooms” is a much more complex plant than cannabis. Although it has been proven to have several documented medical benefits, research has shown Psilocybin to help cancer patients with depression and anxiety, relieve symptoms for people who experience cluster headaches, treat addiction, and could be an alternative to typical depression treatments. They can also treat or possibly cure PTSD; it may come with some unsafe risks.
Even though the 2017 Global Drug Survey found that Psilocybin is the safest recreational drug, the present psychology of the user must be taken into account, especially for those who have been diagnosed with psychosis.
Some subjects have been known to experience anxiety, nausea, paranoia, and DE-personalization when taking unsupervised and unregulated amounts of Psilocybin. A fraction of users has reported violent behavior and even suicidal thoughts. This means that Psilocybin should be used carefully in a clinical setting or with an experienced guide.
According to a 2016 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, it showed that “bad trips,” experiences with Psilocybin that when taken in a hostile or paranoid state of mind, are beneficial for many people after using the drug, with 76 percent saying that as a result of their bad trip, they had an improved sense of well-being and outlook on life.
In essence, the “bad trip” was a reflection of themselves at that present moment. Most bad trips occur when experiencing Psilocybin in an uncomfortable setting or not having the support of a trustworthy person to guide them through their journey. This would not be of concern in a licensed facility with proper medical staff on hand to act as their guide through their psychosis, which has been proven in medical journals to produce satisfactory results.
Looking at the research, it would be easy to see why it should be decriminalized and legalized. Like marijuana prohibition, decriminalizing then legalizing lowers crime rates, arrests, and jail sentences related to an unregulated and highly profitable business.
Decriminalizing Shrooms would stop wasting the public resources pumped into the legal system to address harassment of the power, aka the war on drugs, similar to marijuana.
Although, even when decriminalized, users would still be getting their Shrooms from unregulated sources, making a case for medical use and legalization.
Decriminalized magic mushrooms seem to be, as many would agree, a step in the right direction until additional guidelines and regulations can push it to the next steps.