3 Things to Know Before You Trip: Magic Mushrooms & Decriminalization in Denver
With the passage of Initiated Ordinance 301 by a slim margin, Denver has become the first city in the United States to decriminalize the personal possession and personal use of "magic mushrooms."
Decriminalization is not legalizationInitiated Ordinance-301 does not legalize mushrooms in the same way Amendment 64 legalized marijuana. Decriminalization simply makes the enforcement of criminal laws related to mushrooms the lowest priority for law enforcement and strips funding for the enforcement in the criminal code related to mushrooms. In other words, the law puts mushrooms into the "we don't care" box rather than the "completely legal" box. Possession and use are still technically a crime, even if this is in name only.
Mushrooms that contain hallucinogenic compounds also remain a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Nothing in the new Denver law would prohibit federal officers from enforcing the federal law.
Decriminalization may not apply if...The new ordinance only applies to persons over 21 and does not allow distribution or public use. Selling mushrooms may be prosecuted under existing drug distribution laws. Home grows intended only for personal use do fall under the new ordinance's "possession" provisions.
The new ordinance only applies in the City and County of DenverInitiated Ordinance 301 is limited to the City and County of Denver. Metro area counties such as Boulder, Jefferson, Adams and Douglas are not bound by the new ordinance in any way. Use or possession of mushrooms in these counties, as well of the rest of Colorado, may be prosecuted regardless of the Denver ordinance. For example, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, is part of the City and County of Denver, but is surrounded by Jefferson County. The provisions of Initiated Ordinance 301 would apply at the concert venue, but not when traveling to and from.