Update: Magic Mushrooms have been decriminalized under Initiative 81 as of November 3rd 2020
This is a question we get a lot. With the popularity of mushrooms increasing, more people are discovering their unique benefits. Also known as Magic Mushrooms or Shrooms, they are different than your everyday mushrooms in the fact that they contain an active ingredient called Psilocybin. This is what causes you to trip or have an out of body experience along with a host of other psychological and physical benefits.
For most people mushrooms were just associated with hippies and stoners, but that image is beginning to change. Most mushroom users these days are working professionals or trauma survivors dealing with anxiety or PTSD. Scientists have found that by microdosing mushrooms (< 1g) you can relieve a lot of anxiety without the hallucinogenic effects. This movement of microdosing mushrooms has really started to grow but the government has not caught up yet.
Currently, psychedelic mushrooms are illegal in Washington DC but this November, decriminalizing them may be on the ballot. Earlier this month, the DC Board of Elections decided that the city can vote to pass a measure that will decriminalize the possession and private use of magic mushrooms and other psychedelic substances including ibogaine, mescaline, or psilocybin among some others. The proposal will make it a low priority for law enforcement agencies to arrest adults over age 21 who grow or distribute psychedelic mushrooms.
The initiative isn’t legalizing psychedelics or mushrooms in DC like initiative 71 legalized marijuana in 2014. However, it will take the pressure off of those who could benefit from the therapeutic uses of mushrooms without worrying about police involvement or law enforcement.
Scientific evidence suggests that magic mushrooms and many other psychedelics are medicinal in nature. People who use mushrooms report an increase in openness and deep introspective personality shifts as well as an uptick in creativity. Tripping chemically alters your brain in a way that helps it to make subconscious connections while you are conscious. This helps with things like PTSD and repressed memory management. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that mushrooms can help break bad habits and addictions as well as help reduce depression.
The decriminalization initiative, also known as initiative 81, is proposed by Melissa Lavasani, a budget officer at the DC Department of Energy and Environment and a spokeswoman for advocacy group Decriminalize Nature DC. She used mushrooms to combat the symptoms of postpartum depression and has the first-hand experience with the therapeutic benefits of the drug. The initiative, known as the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, is designed to bring medicine to people who may benefit from psychedelic therapy while taking the pressure off of law enforcement.
Other cities have also recently taken the decriminalization plunge, including Denver, CO. Denver’s district attorney Beth McCann initially opposed the mushroom decriminalization efforts in Denver last year despite anecdotal and scientific evidence of therapeutic value. However, in a recent interview, she said her “biggest concerns have not played out,” and juveniles don’t have the same interest in psychedelics as they do in marijuana or even cocaine.
In order to make it to the ballot, 25,000 signatures are needed from supporters. Opponents of the initiative will still have the chance to overturn the vote after 10 days. However, if it gets enough signatures to be on the ballot November 3rd, 2020 DC will vote to decriminalize mushrooms.
Fingers crossed, but until then there are still plenty of places in DC to get magic mushrooms.