The city of Denver, Colorado, has become the first in the US to decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms’, however the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still classes the psychedelic drug in the same category as LSD and heroin.
The public vote was narrowly passed and means the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms by people aged 21 or older will be Denver’s “lowest law-enforcement priority.” The legal change is expected to take effect as soon as next year.
Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical obtained from certain types of fresh and dried mushrooms. It has been federally illegal in the US since 1968, and is classed by the DEA as a ‘Schedule 1’ substance along with heroin and LSD.
Officials with the DEA office in Denver told NPR they still consider psilocybin to have “no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” However studies by medical researchers have shown the substance is not addictive, rarely results in hospital visits, and can be used to treat people with anxiety, depression, PTSD and OCD.
Last year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted psilocybin “breakthrough therapy” designation.
Denver could now set an example of society’s changing attitudes that campaigners need to enact similar law amendments around the country. Advocates have already been working to introduce changes to psilocybin laws in Iowa, Oregon and California.