On Tuesday, Denver began hallucinating. They passed an initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms (“shrooms”) by a slim margin. The Colorado Springs Gazette called the move “Welcome to Denver, New Amsterdam- Plus.” No other jurisdiction anywhere in the US allows hallucinogenic mushrooms – Denver is the first.
The election that instituted Initiative 301, made “shrooms” the lowest priority in Denver’s criminal justice system, even lower than jaywalking. The action in effect allows people to use the shrooms regardless of the Federal law against them. Gives new meaning to the “mile-high” city.
So what’s the big deal, anyway? Marijuana is already legal in Colorado. Why worry about a dried mushroom? Who cares?
There are a host of reasons, but let’s start with the editor calling Denver “New Amsterdam.” Amsterdam in The Netherlands is well known as a “free drug” city. When I was there, large numbers of people hung out on street corners all over the city to do drugs – everything from heroin to cocaine and even mushrooms. It was not a “safe feeling” to be around groups of 10 or 12 people who were higher than a kite and kept asking me if I wanted some. No thanks.
Holland outlawed even the possession of both dried and fresh hallucinogenic mushrooms in 2008. The editorial at Colorado Springs Gazette stated, “That move came after years of enduring consistent problems with tourists losing connection with reality, including the teenage girl who hallucinated and jumped to her death off a bridge.”
The DEA wrote that large amounts of psilocybin mushrooms can cause panic attacks and psychosis in addition to the usual hallucinations. Use of it can lead to nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness, and lack of coordination. Overdoses can result in psychosis or death.
There may be medical uses for the drug for treatment of certain cancers or even PTSD, but those are tightly controlled circumstances. Many Native tribes have used psychedelic mushrooms for centuries, and some psychologists are hoping the legalization of the drug will occur nationwide.
But hallucinations are not the only things going on in Denver:
“Well, in fact, in November the Denver City Council voted 12-1 to fund and operate a heroin and methamphetamine consumption site, providing addicts with more dangerous drugs than psilocybin. If they succeed in convincing the Colorado Legislature to go along with it, city politicians will open an illicit drug house in blatant violation of federal law…
…With Tuesday’s apparent decision by a slim majority of a small percentage who bothered to vote, Denver becomes the world’s undisputed playground for recreational drugs. Hallucinogenic drug users will move to the city and visit for mind-numbing escapes from reality. Dealers and distributors will relocate to Denver, knowing enforcement against their products are the lowest priority of law enforcement.” Colorado Springs Gazette
The results of the election are to be certified on May 16. Colorado is already at the heart of many news stories from gun control to school shootings. One initiative (300 – Right to Survive Law) that failed on Tuesday would have made Denver a destination hot spot for the homeless so they could live on any surface in the city. Eighty Percent of the voters rejected it, not wanting to stumble over poop on the streets like San Francisco is currently experiencing.
What kind of future do you think Denver will have?