"Because psilocybin has such tremendous medical potential, there’s no reason individuals should be criminalized."
This week, Denver, CO became the first city in the United States to decriminalize psilocybin, a compound with hallucinogenic properties that occurs in some mushrooms — a move that could signal new frontiers both in the country's evolving relationship with mind-altering substances and in the medical community's accelerating exploration of psychedelics.
"Because psilocybin has such tremendous medical potential, there’s no reason individuals should be criminalized for using something that grows naturally," said Kevin Matthews, the director of the campaign to legalize psilocybin in Denver, in an interview with the New York Times.
The new law passed by a narrow margin, according to the Times, of less than 2,000 votes. It doesn't entirely legalize psilocybin-containing mushrooms, but it makes the prosecution of possession and cultivation of them an extremely low-priority offense.
But not everybody in Denver is pleased.
"We’re still in the very early stages of marijuana legalization, and we are still learning the impact of that substance on our city," Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, told the Times. The district attorney, she said, "is not in favor of Denver being the only city that doesn’t enforce the law."
READ MORE: Denver Voters Support ‘Magic’ Mushrooms [The New York Times]
More on psilocybin: Scientist Tells World Leaders MDMA and Magic Mushrooms Should Be Legal