Healthy mushrooms

You may know that Denver, Colorado is the first U.S. city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms. It’s nice to know jail time isn’t a possibility for possession of shrooms but there are still of course penalties if you’re out here slinging pounds of weight. So it’s a monumental achievement in the fungus’ long history and state-supported recreational use speaks volumes about the holistic direction Colorado is heading in.

How’d we get here?

Most world governments list psilocybin mushrooms as a Schedule 1, Class A, blah-blah-blah, or however they say “highest penalty-type drug”. Still, going off rock paintings, scholars believe the potent fungus may have been used over 10,000 years ago in North African indigenous cultures. Other depictions of mushrooms have been found in Central America among Mayan and Aztec ruins. The Aztecs, in particular, used something called teonanácatl, loosely translated to “flesh of the gods,” that historians speculate was actually magic mushrooms used to produce visions and speak with the gods.

Stone carvings

Despite this deep connection with human history, mushrooms tend to have the same antiquated “lazy stoner” stereotype applied to them. Magic mushrooms started to gain recognition in the Western world in the late 1950s. A biologist specializing in mushrooms (mycologist) named R. Gordon Wasson travelled to Mexico in 1955 to experience some of the ritual ceremonies associated with the fungus. After publishing his findings and what he witnessed in a 1957 issue of Life Magazine, the proverbial cat had left the bag. A young Timothy Leary, one of the fathers of the psychotropic drug movement was intrigued and inspired by the article, which led to his revolutionary work with LSD. The rest is, as they say, history.

Blue and purple shrooms

Say you’re not in Denver and wish to take mushrooms somewhere where you’re not gonna be prosecuted, where do you go? Well, nowhere in the United States. But, if you happen to be abroad there are a few places that allow psilocybin mushroom possession and use. Brazil, Samoa and Vietnam don’t have laws restricting mushrooms. The same goes for Jamaica and people report the fungus is sold openly in markets and shops. The promised land of magic mushrooms though is, of course, the Netherlands. Through a legal loophole, shops across Amsterdam and other major cities allow the sale of “magic truffles”, a byproduct of psilocybin mushrooms that forms a part of their root system. These are widely available and easy to find in the city.

What do you think will be widely accepted and legalized next? Will the rest of the USA’s states legalize shrooms?