After Blazing a Trail for Legal Weed, Colorado Sets its Sights on Shrooms
When Colorado voters approved the country’s first statewide recreational cannabis legalization measure in 2012, they and the state of Washington began blazing a new trail that has led to 8 more states plus Washington D.C. following their lead, with several more poised to join those ranks in 2019.
With 2 out of 3 Americans now in favor of legalizing weed, it is easy to forget just how taboo the subject was just a short time ago.
So far, every state that has taken the ultimate step of legalizing cannabis for recreational use has done so on the heels of a relatively successful medical marijuana program that was established prior.
The undeniable medical benefits of the cannabis plant have played a leading role in its very recent transition from being strictly a counterculture topic to a more mainstream solution for folks from virtually all walks of life.
As the cannabis movement continues its march toward wider acceptance, researchers have been diving deeper into other naturally growing remedies that have traditionally been shunned by western medicine, and the results have been a real trip, man.
MAPS SHOWS US THE WAY
Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.
This groundbreaking institution works diligently to obtain tenuous approvals from agencies like the FDA and DEA to study Schedule I drugs like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, DMT, and yes, even weed.
Their tireless advocacy for these substances, and the potential medical value that they possess, has led to an emulation of the cannabis movement in which raw, scientific data showing that real ailments can truly be alleviated with nootropic or psychedelic drugs is beginning to win over the hearts and minds of the average American.
The risk that prohibitionists take is always the same: if/when they get caught in the big lie, everything they have ever said becomes suspect.
So, when they tell us that Colorado will turn into a pit of stoned toddlers, pile-ups of stoner-operated vehicles, crime, and sin, and none of that comes true, we should absolutely take another look at the psychedelics that those same pricks always warned us about.
Now, five years after they implemented a statewide campaign to normalize cannabis, Colorado is back at it again, but this time with psilocybin mushrooms.
Specifically, the city of Denver appears to be on its way to becoming the first major U.S. city to have a psychedelic mushroom decriminalization bill on the ballot as officials prepare for a municipal election this May.
If it does make the ballot and meet with voter approval, the Denver Psilocybin Initiative will make the use, possession, growth, and sale of shrooms the "city's lowest law-enforcement priority". The new law will also "prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties" for personal shroomage.
Importantly, the initiative also seeks to establish a "psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance”. This matters. This is how we will be able to look back and gauge this decision, as we were able to do with cannabis legalization.
A 2018 effort under the same banner of support came up short on the signatures required to force an issue onto the voting ballot, but organizers rallied toward a new goal of May 2019 and it appears they now have their paperwork in order.
Mushroom connoisseurs in California tried a similar approach last year as well, but on a statewide level. Nearly a half a million signatures are required to get a statewide initiative on a California voting ballot, and while the mushroom effort only managed to gather about 25% of the number they needed, in a state as large as Cali that still amounted to over 90,000 people showing their love for shrooms.
So, really, it appears that it’s only a matter of time – especially in states that have already shown the guts to embrace cannabis reform.
As with cannabis, we are just beginning to scratch the surface on how psilocybin mushrooms can be used as a healing tool.
Joe Rogan likes to wonder aloud if our primate ancestors had a nitro boost of evolutionary brain growth due to their discovery (and ingestion) of naturally growing “magic” mushrooms.
We do know that man has been performing recoded studies on the effects of shrooms since at least 1799. In the U.S., interest peaked in the 1960’s when cultural icons like Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna began to put a scientific twist on the experience, but financial and governmental support for true research fizzled.
In 2011, a research team at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine revealed that roughly 60% of the test subjects that were given psilocybin experienced significantly positive personality changes concerning traits like “openness, imagination or feelings”.
In recent years, controlled psilocybin treatment in cancer patients has proven to provide real relief from the life-wracking symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even pain. Psilocybin-assisted therapy has also proven to be incredibly useful in helping people battling opioid addiction.
To be clear: There is a world of difference between decriminalization and legalization, but the potential precedent that Denver is on the verge of setting could spark the next revolution to reclaim our sovereignty over our own bodies as free adults.