Colorado's mushroom legalization campaign aims for vote next spring
Magic mushrooms seem headed for the ballot in Denver in May 2019.
A group pushing to legalize psilocybin in Colorado's capital city, Denver for Psilocybin, is confident they can collect the 5,000 or so valid signatures they need, and put the issue on the city ballot in the spring.
"May is going to give us more time to both get our signatures, but more importantly coalition build and to campaign and drive people to go vote," Kevin Matthews, the head of the Denver for Psilocybin campaign, told Rooster.
If they succeed, shrooms would be legal in Denver — not the rest of Colorado.
Denver for Psilocybin had aimed for a vote in November, but ran into a time crunch. "We're not going to have enough time to collect signatures by August 15," the deadline for the November election, Matthews said.
The initiative won't strictly "legalize shrooms." It's going to say that "psychoactive mushrooms shall be at the lowest law enforcement priority level in the City and County of Denver."
The "lowest law enforcement priority" language was used at the beginning of the movement to legalize marijuana. Starting in 2003, voters in individual towns from Santa Barbara to Kalamazoo directed their cops to enforce the laws against cannabis dead last. If cops saw someone smoking a joint while someone else across town was jaywalking, cops should hightail it over to the jaywalking.
In 2005, Denver voters wiped out all criminal and civil penalties for small amounts of pot. But cops found a way around that law. So Denver voters struck again, in 2007, declared that pot should be local cops' "lowest law enforcement priority." This erased most of the language about marijuana from the city's criminal code, and effectively decriminalized cannabis in Denver.
Only 20 percent of the country supported legalizing mushrooms the last time a poll was taken.
But if the initiative did pass in Denver, cops would be directed to ignore anyone who possessed up to 28 grams of dried mushrooms — an ounce. That's equal to about 10 heavy doses. If cops found you with more than 28 grams, the only punishment would be taking whatever weight you had over 28 grams.
You could grow them on private property. You could welcome your neighbor the police officer over and show her your garden of psilocybe cubensis. And calmly offer a cap and a stem to your seatmate at the Fillmore or the Colorado Symphony.