Psychedelic mushrooms: Denver panel to release report, push for further decriminalization

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 18:34:01-04

DENVER — After nearly two years of studying psilocybin mushroom’s impact on Denver’s public health and safety, the City of Denver’s Psilocybin Mushroom Review Panel is close to releasing its findings to the public.

“We’ve been meeting as a panel over the past 18 months,” said Kevin Matthews, president of the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel. “What we learned is that decriminalizing psilocybin has not created any significant public health or safety risk to the city.”

Matthews said the panel plans to submit the comprehensive report to Denver City Council within the next few weeks.

“We’re going to ask the city to expand decriminalization in Denver to provide more civil liberties for resident,” Matthews said.

When Denver voters passed the psilocybin decriminalization law in 2019, users could no longer be charged for possession, use, cultivation, or storage of psilocybin mushrooms. Also, police could no longer use city funds to arrest or prosecute users.

The law also called for the creation of a panel.

Matthews said now the panel is hoping to further decriminalize psilocybin.

“We’re asking the city to decriminalize gifting and sharing of psilocybin mushrooms and also allow for communal use,” Matthews said.

Under Colorado state law, if someone is caught giving psilocybin mushrooms as a gift, they can be charged with felony distribution.

“We know that most folks who use psilocybin really find the most benefit in the comfort and safety of their own home or in a community setting and so we want folks to be able to gather in community to work with psilocybin. That really honors the way psilocybin has been traditionally used,” Matthews said.

Matthews said further decriminalization could open the door to therapeutic uses.

“We’re asking the city to consider what psilocybin therapy or psilocybin treatment could look like here in the city. I think the city of Denver really has incredible opportunity to continue to be a leader nationwide in terms of drug enforcement and also looking at how we can really start to address the mental and behavioral health issues that we’re facing,” Matthews said.

The panel will release its full report on the impact decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms has had on Denver on Nov. 9.