Colorado Springs is not known for its progressive or liberal qualities. Quite the contrary, in fact — Colorado Springs is a military town, home of the Airforce Academy, Schreiver Airforce Base, Peterson Airforce Base, Fort Carson and the Cheyanne Mountain Air Force Station.

It’s a notoriously red city and one that is not very drug friendly. Even recreational cannabis is prohibited from being sold within the City limits.

However, the president of the Colorado Springs City Council recently surprised everyone when he commended the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms during a City Council regular meeting, sharing a personal story about how the substance has positively affected his life.

At the October 14th assembly, the group Decriminalize Nature Colorado Springs (DNCS) gave a presentation to the council. During which, they made the case to the councilmembers that the city should consider decriminalizing natural psychedelics like magic mushrooms.

Anthony Caballero, the founder of DNCS, argued that psychedelics could be particularly beneficial in Colorado Springs, because of the large military community there. The prevalence of PTSD and other trauma-related issues is high in the Springs, Caballero noted — and therefore they have a lot to gain from legalizing these substances.

“It’s no secret that the military is the backbone of our beautiful Colorado Springs community,” Zachary Short, who addressed the council with Caballero, said at the meeting. “But we are doing this community a massive disservice if we threaten to imprison our veteran service men and women for consuming a plant—yes, a natural plant—that could very well save their lives. Don’t we owe them the best care and treatment available and all options?”

He said that Colorado Springs could be “trailblazers” on this new frontier of medicinal therapy.

In response, Richard Skorman, the Council’s president, chimed in with a story of his own. He recounted how, when his sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, she enrolled in a psilocybin trial that dramatically affected her state of mind and ability to fight for her life.

“She was predicted to not live and went through a lot of trauma and was able to survive,” said Skorman. “She became part of a study at Columbia University on psilocybin mushrooms and it was something that was nationally recognized, but it was, again, it was something that has helped her tremendously. So, it has affected my family as well.”

Decriminalize Nature is a national movement with chapters in cities across the US , all Dedicated to the same mission: getting local governments to decriminalize nature’s trippiest goodies. They started in California (notably right after Denver voted to decriminalize mushrooms) and have since spread to nearly a hundred different US cities. Caballero founded the Colorado Springs chapter in February of this year and couldn’t have expected the council to be more receptive  to his pitch.

Image courtesy of Decriminaliza Nature. 

“That response was out of this world,” he says.

Caballero has been communicating with councilmember Tom Strand, who told Caballero that the council’s response to Decriminalize Nature’s message was “open but mixed.”

That’s more than Caballero could have hoped for, he says. Now all that’s left, is for one councilmember to formally sponsor the decriminalization measure (Caballero hopes it will be council president Richard Skorman).

If that happens and its approved by the city council, Colorado Springs will become the fourth US city to decriminalize entheogenic substances — behind Oakland, Santa Cruz and Ann Arbor. It would be a surprisingly progressive step for the largely conservative city, but one that stands to massively benefit their community.

“Then we can start making real progress here in Colorado Springs,” says Caballero.