First, Marijuana. Are Magic Mushrooms Next?

Advocates in Oregon and Denver are pushing ballot measures to allow possession of mushrooms as new research shows it may be useful in treating depression and anxiety.

First, Marijuana. Are Magic Mushrooms NextIn Oregon and Denver, where marijuana is legal for recreational use, activists are now pushing toward a psychedelic frontier: “magic mushrooms.”

Groups in both states are sponsoring ballot measures that would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of the mushrooms whose active ingredient, psilocybin, can cause hallucinations, euphoria and changes in perception.

They point to research showing that psilocybin might be helpful for people suffering from depression or anxiety.

“We don’t want individuals to lose their freedom over something that’s natural and has health benefits,” said Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of , the group working to decriminalize magic mushrooms in Colorado’s capital.

The recent failure of a nationally publicized campaign to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms in California may not portend well for the psilocybin advocates in Oregon and Denver — though their initiatives are more limited than California’s.

The proposal in the Golden State would have decriminalized sales and transportation of magic mushrooms, not just possession. The proposed Denver would apply only to that city, while in Oregon mushroom use would be allowed only with the approval of a physician and under the supervision of a registered therapist.

None of the proposed initiatives envisions fully legalizing psilocybin mushrooms, which would allow the government to regulate and tax sales in a similar fashion to medical and recreational marijuana.

In Oregon, advocates face a steep climb to qualify their measure for the ballot, because such statewide initiatives typically require hiring paid signature gatherers, said William Lunch, a political analyst for Oregon Public Broadcasting and a former political science professor at Oregon State University.

Still, familiarity with recreational marijuana may have “softened up” voters and opponents of drug decriminalization, he said. Oregon legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2015, Colorado in 2012.

The Oregon and Denver activists, echoing Lunch, say they hope voters who already accepted pot would now feel comfortable decriminalizing personal use of magic mushrooms as well.

Taking mushrooms can lead to nausea, panic attacks and, rarely, paranoia and psychosis. But they generally are considered safer and less addictive than other illegal street drugs.

Even so, Paul Hutson, professor of pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin who has conducted psilocybin research, says he is wary of the drive for decriminalization. Psilocybin isn’t safe for some people — particularly those with paranoia or psychosis, he said.

“I reject the idea that that this is a natural progression from medical marijuana,” Hutson said, noting that the safety of pot is much better established. Mushrooms, he added, “are very, very potent medicines that are affecting your mind. In the proper setting, they’re safe, but in an uncontrolled fashion, I have grave concerns.”

Even psilocybin advocates share Hutson’s concerns. “It is such a powerful compound. People should take it very seriously when experimenting,” Matthews said.

These efforts to legitimize hallucinogenic mushrooms come at a time of renewed interest in the potential mental health benefits of psychedelics, including mushrooms, LSD and MDMA (known as ecstasy).

Two small studies published in 2016 by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and New York University found that a single large dose of psilocybin, combined with psychotherapy, helped relieve depression and anxiety in cancer patients.

A British company backed by Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel plans clinical studies in eight European countries to test the use of psilocybin for depression. Other research has examined the effectiveness of psilocybin in treating alcohol and tobacco addiction.

In California, the campaign to decriminalize psilocybin was always a long shot — even though the famously liberal state legalized possession of recreational marijuana in November 2016 and sales starting this year.

California ballot measures typically require nearly 366,000 signatures to qualify, and supporters usually have to spend between $1 million and $2 million to pay signature gatherers.

A Monterey County couple leading the decriminalization campaign managed to collect more than 90,000 signatures for their proposal with the help of volunteers, but they halted their efforts late last month.

The initiative would have exempted Californians 21 and over from criminal penalties for possessing, selling, transporting or cultivating psilocybin mushrooms.

Possessing them is generally a misdemeanor under California law, but selling them is a felony. State statistics on psilocybin offenses are scarce, but few people are jailed for such crimes, according to an analysis by the California attorney general’s office.

“It’s not a reckless community,” said Kitty Merchant of Marina, Calif., who spearheaded the California psilocybin campaign alongside her husband, Kevin Saunders. “It’s experimentation with your mind and your thoughts. There’s a safeness to it. And there’s an intelligence to it.”

Merchant said she and Saunders, both medical marijuana advocates, spent about $20,000 of their own money on the campaign.

In Denver, Matthews and his pro-psilocybin colleagues want voters to pass a city ordinance eliminating criminal penalties for possessing, using or growing magic mushrooms.

City officials have cleared the measure for signature gathering. Supporters need 5,000 signatures to get it on the ballot in November. Matthews said he has already lined up dozens of volunteer signature gatherers.

He said he has used mushrooms to help alleviate depression and other mental health problems. A big part of the decriminalization campaign, he said, is promoting responsible use.

Denver, a progressive city in a state that was the first to legalize recreational marijuana, “is a good testing place for this initiative nationwide,” Matthews said. Just getting it on the ballot, whether or not it passes, would be “a huge victory,” he added.

In Oregon, activists are proposing a measure for the 2020 ballot that would decriminalize psilocybin statewide for adults 21 and over who get approval from their doctors and agree to participate in a “psilocybin service.”

The service would include a preparatory meeting with a therapist, one session of supervised mushroom use and a follow-up visit. Patients would be under the care of state-certified “Psilocybin Service Facilitators.”

Tom Eckert, a Portland, Ore.-based therapist who leads the psilocybin decriminalization campaign with his wife, Sheri, said the proposed limitations on psilocybin use are important.

“Psilocybin is generally safe, but it puts you in a vulnerable state of mind,” he said. “If you do it in the wrong setting, things can go sideways.”

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

The Approved Monsanto-Bayer Merger Could Spell Disaster for a Budding Cannabis Industry

After selling off enough assets to win anti-trust approval, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved a mega-merger between Monsanto and Bayer, two of the...

Official: Australia Legalizes Medicinal Marijuana

This is what we have been advocating for: medical use of marijuana. We believe that responsible use of the plant helps the user. Australia is...

Spain Study Confirms Hemp Oil Cures Cancer without Side Effects

The International Medical Veritas Association (IMVA) is putting hemp oil on its cancer protocol. It is a prioritized protocol list whose top five items...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

The Approved Monsanto-Bayer Merger Could Spell Disaster for a Budding Cannabis Industry

After selling off enough assets to win anti-trust approval, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved a mega-merger between Monsanto and Bayer, two of the...

Australian Father Faces 20 Years Jail In After Trying To Treat Daughter’s Cancer With Cannabis Oil

When Adam Koessler’s 2 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma – a very serious abdomen cancer – he sought to do...

No-Nonsense Scientists Clear up Confusion About Marijuana’s Ill Effects

Despite a growing body of scientific research that speaks to the contrary, U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has said that marijuana —...

DEA Approves Synthetic Marijuana for Company That Spent $500K to Keep Weed Illegal

A synthetic marijuana product could be available for commercialization after the DEA gave a newly approved drug a schedule II classification. On Thursday, Insys Therapeutics...

Nasa Will Take Humans To Mars by the 2030

NASA is building the largest rocket of all time that will take humans to Mars by the 2030s NASA announced an ambitious plan that could...

Floating solar power plants to be built in Japan

Japan has started construction of two floating solar power plants, which will become part of a huge, 60 megawatt floating renewable energy network. Japan may...

House Passes Bill Allowing Government to Microchip Citizens with “ Mental Disabilities”

Six years ago, NBC Nightly News boldly predicted that all Americans would be fitted with RFID microchips by the year 2017. Though at the time,...

Chemical Found In Ayahuasca May Be Able To Completely Reverse Diabetes

Diabetes currently affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In America alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that number to be...