Denver report on psilocybin decriminalization lays a foundation for urban psychedelic policy

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Initiative 301, the voter initiative that famously decriminalized personal possession, use, and cultivation of psilocybin in Denver in May of 2019, mandated the Mayor to appoint a psilocybin mushroom policy review panel that would “assess and report on the effects” of the initiative and “submit a comprehensive written report with recommendations to the city council that will include, but not be limited to, information concerning the public safety, public administration, public health and fiscal impacts” of the initiative.

On Tuesday, November 9, the Panel, the “Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel,” released its report.

The Panel, which includes representatives of the Denver Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office, and City Attorney’s Office, found that decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms has not presented any significant public health or safety risk in the city and there has been no major increase in arrests related to the distribution of psilocybin mushrooms and no major cartel elements or organized crime.

The report recommended the following actions:

  1. Train City and County of Denver first responders to recognize and safely respond to persons undergoing psychedelic crisis.
  2. Produce educational public service announcements to inform the public about safety, responsible use, and available risk reduction services.
  3. Create a data collection reporting system for any interactions involving psilocybin for ongoing public safety monitoring.
  4. Make the sharing/gifting of psilocybin without remuneration among the lowest law enforcement priority.
  5. Make the communal use of psilocybin among the lowest law enforcement priority.
  6. Expand voting Panel members to be more representative of Denver’s diversity.
  7. Determine how psilocybin therapy can be applied to address mental health issues in Denver.

The day after the release of the release, Kevin Matthews, who had been the executive director of the Decriminalize Denver campaign and is the president of the Panel, joined me to discuss the report.

I kept trying to keep the conversation to 20 minutes (as a reasonable length for a video blogpost) but it was too much fun and neither of us could stop.

Denver Initiative 301 is the

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