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Denver Activists Are Close To Forcing A Vote To Decriminalize Mushrooms



Denver, one of the first places in the country to see medical and legal cannabis, may soon get the chance to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. According to, the advocacy group, Colorado for Psilocybin proposed a legal measure that would do away with felony charges for people caught in possession of mushrooms.

Tyler Williams, one of the leaders of the Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative said that people should not be jailed for consuming mushrooms.

“I’m a big believer in cognitive liberty, and so whatever people decide to consume I think is up to them. I think people should be informed about what they are consuming, and they shouldn’t have to be afraid of going to jail for that,” Williams said.

This week, Williams and numerous other activists representing different groups attended a public hearing where they laid out their plan for officials. After the meeting, the city was just a few steps away from decriminalization. The next step will be for the activists to get enough signatures on a petition to have the issue up for vote for this November’s ballot.

A report in The Journal of Psychopharmacology suggested that psilocybin mushrooms could help long-time smokers kick their habit.  The report sourced a recent John Hopkins study, authored by Matthew W. Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The study featured a small test sample, but is one of a series of tests at Hopkins that are showing the healing powers of psychedelic compounds.

Six months after the study, 80 percent of the test subjects had quit smoking and showed no signs of turning back.  This success rate is far better than many other methods which are said to help people quit smoking.  In comparison, most other products on the market have success rates of 30 or 35 percent.

“Quitting smoking isn’t a simple biological reaction to psilocybin, as with other medications that directly affect nicotine receptors. When administered after careful preparation and in a therapeutic context, psilocybin can lead to deep reflection about one’s life and spark motivation to change,” Johnson said.

According to the study, ten men and five women, all mentally and physically healthy, participated in the study. The average age of the study participants was 51; they smoked, on average, 19 cigarettes a day for 31 years; and had repeatedly tried and failed to stop smoking. Ten participants reported minimal past use of hallucinogens, with the most recent use being an average of 27 years before study intake. Five had never used hallucinogens.

Johnson’s next study will use MRI scans to compare success rates for people who take psilocybin with those of people who use nicotine patches.

In 2012, John Hopkins made news in psychedelic research with a study showing that the psychedelic experience can help terminally ill patients come to terms with their own mortality.

 Image: jax10289/Shutterstock. 

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