The rise of democracy has turned this struggle from one that mainly employed brute force to one that uses the subtle arts of persuasion and manipulation to garner consent for their rules and rulership. All this to say that when something that our authority had previously called ‘illegal’ (meaning its commission could result in fines or imprisonment) is suddenly legal, it is worth examining whether this truly represents a victory for personal freedom, a small step towards the unshackling of the bonds of authority. In the shadow of the trend towards the legalization of marijuana in Western society, the decriminalization of so-called ‘magic mushrooms’ in Denver has come in a little bit under the radar. Here is what voters in Denver were asked to consider in Initiated Ordinance 301, Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative: Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance to the Denver Revised Municipal Code that would make the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms by persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority, prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties for the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms by persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older, and establish the psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance? Note that this move does not actually remove the illegality of the personal use or possession of psilocybin, for actually making it legal would be a sign that our authority truly wanted to give some of its power back to the people. Rather, they chose to make it a law to ‘prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties’ in order to keep the reigns of control over the matter and more easily reverse it if their ‘review panel’ deems it too dangerous.
The organization Decriminalize Denver made the following argument in favor of decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms on its website: We envision a society where individuals can use psilocybin mushrooms without fear of criminal or civil penalties. Psilocybin is shown to reduce psychological stress and suicidality, reduce opioid use and dependence, and be physiologically safe and non-addictive.
The Libertarian Party of Colorado stated that Decriminalize Denver’s “effort matches the Libertarian Party of Colorado’s platform planks of ‘The Individual’ and ‘Victimless Crimes.'” Meanwhile, the Denver Green Party stated that the “psilocybin effort encompasses six of the Green Party’s Ten Key Values: Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice, Ecological Wisdom, Non-Violence, Respect for Diversity, and Personal and Global responsibility.” Opposing the measure, Jeff Hunt, director of Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, stated, “Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world.
The truth is we have no idea what the long-term health effects of these drugs are going to do to the people of Colorado ... At a certain point, parents are going to look at the city of Denver and say, ‘I don’t want to take my kids to that city.’ And I don’t think tourists are going to want to come to this state.” (source) According to online results from the Denver Elections Division, 89,320 people voted in favor of decriminalizing, while 87,341 others voted against it. People may have had many reasons for voting for or against the issue. Perhaps many didn’t care. One could argue that what one flaky, oddball city in the United States decides to do has no major impact on a country, let alone the movement of consciousness in the world. However, one fundamental thing can be said about the decriminalization of the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms in Denver: a majority of the population has said that it would prefer to leave the decision to the individual rather than to the state. It may very well be that this represents a further awakening of society to the potentially positive benefits of natural psychedelics in the same vein as the positive benefits for marijuana were promoted, first for strictly medical reasons and then for general consumption. It could represent a victory over Big Pharma who undoubtedly would have wanted to maintain a monopoly on the market for products that treated psychological stress and maintain the demand for opioids. I will leave the question to others as to whether the consumption of psychedelics in and of itself is beneficial for the individual and society. CE has touched upon this in several articles including ‘New Study Shows The Science of How Psychedelic Drugs Repair Neurons In The Brain‘ and ‘How The New Science of Psychedelics Can Teach Us About Depression, Trauma Much More...‘ Perhaps the best CE has touched on the psychedelic question is in a podcast episode having a deep discussion on it here.
The questions here are whether or not we are seeing signs that our authority’s grip on power is weakening, if our growing awareness is leading to a reduction in the prosecution of victimless crimes, and if a growing number of us as individuals are reaching more for the reins of self-responsibility while actively looking for ways out of the yoke of control long held by our authority. If this is taking place–and I think in the long view it ultimately must be, though perhaps not accelerating as quickly as many of us had hoped–then we may be able to take solace in some of the changes we are seeing taking place in our society that would not have been considered possible just a short time ago. Our individual sovereignty is a right and is the natural order of things, endowed by creation, as the Constitution states. I believe it is the most important thing to devote our energy to, the most important thing to fight for. I believe it is our destiny as a collective. It is incumbent upon us as members of the Awakening Community to bring notice to the small steps we are taking in that direction, and perhaps the decriminalization of ‘magic mushrooms’ in one city in America is such a.
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