First Ever ‘Magic Mushroom’ Board Appointed in Denver, Colorado
DENVER, CO - ( NewMediaWire ) - December 30, 2019 - Denver Mayor Michael Hancock appointed members to serve on the Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel (the “Panel”), the only municipal body of its kind in the world with a mandate to collect data and report on the impacts of psilocybin decriminalization in a metropolitan area.
Psilocybin is a psychoactive compound found in certain types of mushrooms that are commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms.” Although psilocybin is currently listed as a Schedule I substance in the United States, clinical trials demonstrate it has significant potential in treating conditions like end-of-life anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and addiction to alcohol and nicotine.
Denver was the first city in the United States to decriminalize the personal possession, personal use, and personal cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms last May in a stunning victory for proponents of the Denver Psilocybin Initiative. Their success inspired a nationwide movement, and the formation of the Panel marks the full implementation of the initiative.
By March 31, 2020, the Panel must establish reporting criteria for the Denver City Attorney’s Office, Denver Police Department, and the Denver Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement contact and arrests related to psilocybin. The Panel will also submit a comprehensive written report to the City Council in early 2021 that will include, but not be limited to, information concerning the public safety, public administration, public health, and fiscal impacts of psilocybin mushroom decriminalization in Denver.
“The Panel will not only report on data related to psilocybin use in Denver, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity to explore how psilocybin decriminalization can have a positive impact in our communities,” said Kevin Matthews, former Campaign Director of the Denver Psilocybin Initiative and newly appointed member to the Panel. “Our duty is to uphold the will of the voters. We look forward to working with our communities here in Denver to ensure diverse and inclusive representation on this Panel as we explore the impact of psilocybin decriminalization.”
In addition to establishing reporting standards for law enforcement, Matthews indicated that proponents will work with city officials on public service announcements that highlight safety and the responsible use of psilocybin, training law enforcement on harm reduction, and potentially getting involved with Denver’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.
“A harm reduction education strategy will help us to navigate the world of psilocybin decriminalization so that decisions, priorities, and actions may be made from a place of knowledge and understanding over stigma, fear, and misinformation,” said newly appointed Panel member Sara Gael, Director of Harm Reduction at the Zendo Project. “I see the Panel as a model of multidisciplinary approach to understanding psychedelics and their place in society. We have come very far in the past decade in the areas of psychedelic research and education, and well-informed decision making is made possible through models which include a variety of stakeholders and perspectives.”
The formation of the Panel signifies a new era of citizen-initiated participation in the psychedelic drug policy reform conversation with elected officials, where community leaders can influence opinion and directly affect positive change. The newly appointed members will begin their work in January 2020.