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Magic Mushrooms in Denver FAQ

On May 9, 2019, Denver voters approved Initiative 301 by a narrow margin of 50.64 percent, thus decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms and making the Mile High City the first city in the United States to do so. The following blog post is an overview of the new law.

Question: What are magic mushrooms?

Answer: Magic mushrooms—also known as “shrooms”—are considered fungi that contains “psilocybin,” which is a chemical compound that produces an altered state of consciousness and hallucinogenic experiences upon digestion. While many users report positive experiences such as altered thinking, visual hallucinations, altered sense of time, and euphoria, others have adverse experiences such as paranoia and fear, which is known as a “bad trip.”

Q: What does Initiative 301 do?

A: The new law decriminalizes the adult (21 years of age or older) possession and use of magic mushrooms, which means Denver law enforcement officials would make the possession of magic mushrooms the lowest priority. Additionally, the City Council will not spend resources to impose criminal penalties for personal use of magic mushrooms.

Q: Does this law essentially make magic mushrooms legal in Denver?

A: No. Psychedelic mushrooms are still a Schedule 1 narcotic under federal law, making the narcotic illegal to possess and sell in Denver and throughout the country. According to Colorado law, unlawful possession of magic mushrooms is a felony offense, punishable by a maximum 12-month prison term and a fine no more than $100,000.

Unlawful use of magic mushrooms is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine not exceeding $750. However, after March 1, 2020, unlawful use will be punishable by a maximum 120-day jail term, probation of up to one year, and/or a fine of up to $500.

In the end, the city law enforcement prioritizes will be shifted away from enforcing such penalties. In most cases, you will avoid jail time and only pay a fine.

Q: What happens to people who are currently being prosecuted for drug crimes related to magic mushrooms?

A: For now, it seems that the courts will continue to prosecute such cases. However, drug crimes involving magic mushrooms are quite rare. From 2016 to 2017, only three magic mushroom cases out of 11 were prosecuted in Denver, and all three targeted the drug dealer, instead of the user.

Q: Can I buy magic mushrooms in Denver?

A: The new law only decriminalizes the possession and use of psychedelic mushrooms, not the sale and distribution of the narcotic.

Q: Does magic mushrooms have any medical use?

A: Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted psilocybin “breakthrough therapy” status and researchers at John Hopkins University have recommended that it be recategorized as a schedule IV-controlled substance, there is still much research to be done about the medical benefits of magic mushrooms. Yet, that could happen if a 2020 Oregon ballot initiative passes, making psilocybin legal for medical and therapeutic use.

If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Denver, contact the Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. today at (303) 622-3281 and schedule a free consultation.