After pot's success, could Denver legalize mushrooms next?

Group pushing for initiative to land on ballot

DENVER – Colorado blazed trails when it legalized pot and now Denver could lead the way decriminalizing magic mushrooms.

The group Denver for Psilocybin may soon have the all-clear to start gathering signatures so you can vote on it this fall.

Gathering at the steps of the Denver City and County building on Wednesday, the group — chanting at times, "free the spores!" — met with city leaders about their push to decriminalize psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms.

Decriminalization would mean reducing the penalty for possession of psilocybin mushrooms. Colorado decriminalized marijuana long before the drug became legal for medicinal or recreational use.

Tyler Williams, one of the leaders of Denver for Psilocybin, spoke to Denver7 about their reasoning behind the push.

"There's a lot of research for all sorts of mental health issues. Everything from anxiety to depression to cluster headaches, addiction," said Williams.

But he doesn't need the research to prove his claims. He credits their use saved his life a few years ago. 

"I had a suicide attempt November 12th of 2015 and I think it helped me get out of my depression, and it's helped me with my PTSD," Williams said.

He's not alone. There are a growing number of people turning to psilocybin.

Licensed professional counselor Kathy Hawkins treats a few number of people, not during their use, but only before and after.

"So, I’m a place where they can come and talk about it. So they can make sure they’re being safe about how they’re using, what they're using, why they’re using," said Hawkins.

LSD and shrooms were big in the 60's. There was even research to study the effects of the psychedelic compound, but then the government labeled it a Schedule 1 drug; illegal because of its negative physical and psychological effects.

However, many point to a study of cancer patients at Johns Hopkins, who experienced a year-long of positive effect from mushrooms.

"They’re so desperate for help, they’re willing to try. So they've had big breakthroughs, relief from trauma, from anxiety, from depression so anything that's going to help. I think is worth investigating," said Hawkins.

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