Why Have Some States Have Decriminalized Magic Mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms are considered to be illegal in the US due to their content of the hallucinogenic compound called psilocybin, but the tendency today shows a marked movement towards relaxation and decriminalization. While magic mushrooms and psilocybin used to be extensively researched and largely unregulated until the 1970’s, since then, magic mushrooms are on the list of tightly controlled substances all over the USA. The mentioned relaxation and decriminalization started in the last years of the 2010’s, the possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms in small quantities suitable for personal consumption being tolerated in many places. Here are some things worth knowing about the process.

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The Motivation behind Decriminalization Tendencies

One of the aspects that have informed and motivated the change in attitude is the promising findings of scientific research into the potential medicinal uses of psilocybin. Study programs and research have started at the beginning of the 2000’s, with many leading scientists turning towards the compound. According to a company that sell spores for penis envy mushrooms, the studies conducted so far have revealed that psylocibin has many beneficial effects on sufferers of severe depression and anxiety, especially on depression that is unresponsive to treatment.

The other direction for research is to find out more about the compound’s potential as an aid in the treatment of addictions. So far, psilocybin has proven to be a non-addictive substance and very efficient in helping heavy smokers give up smoking while also minimizing or completely eliminating withdrawal symptoms. The positive results as an aid for smoking cessation is motivating further research into the potential of the substance as an aid in the treatment of other addictions as well.

The Current Situation

One of the first and most important steps in the field of decriminalizing psilocybin was made in May, 2019, when Denver, Colorado became the first municipality in the US to decriminalize the compound after an ordinance issued after having won the vote with a narrow 50.6%. According to the ordinance, mushrooms were not legalized, but the authorities no longer prosecuted individuals over the age of 18 for possession. The following important step was made a month later, in June, 2019 in Oakland, California, when 30 individuals testified in front of the city council about their experiences of having used magic mushrooms and the council voted to decriminalize the substance. A similar process took place in Santa Cruz, California in January, 2020, taking it all one step further and adding the cultivation of psilocybin to the list decriminalized activities. In September, 2020, the municipality of Ann Arbor in Michigan also took to a similar path. Just two months later, in November, 2020, Oregon became the first state in the US to not only decriminalize the active compound in magic mushrooms, but also to legalize it for being used for medicinal purposes. The process continued with many other regions and municipalities following the first examples, the most notable examples being the District of Columbia in November 2020, Washtenaw County in Michigan in January, 2021 and many others. The municipalities that have most recently joined the list include Seattle, Washington and Arcata, California, with others likely to join in the near future, too.