No one should be surprised that the marijuana legalization sweeping the nation would just be the beginning. We’ve predictably embarked on an expedition to open Pandora’s Box.
As the Herald’s Joe Dwinell reported, activists in Denver are hoping to make the “Mile High City” the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. The advocates planned to turn in ballot petitions Monday, the Denver Post reported.
Late Monday, advocates in Denver said they had collected enough signatures to move the mushroom measure forward.
This is not good news. Psychedelic or “magic” mushrooms put users on a hallucination roller coaster. Other than a disturbing, hours-long “trip,” hallucinogens, like Psilocybin — which is found in mushrooms — can increase blood pressure, cause panic and paranoia, nausea, speech problems and long-term memory loss according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addition, they are linked to depression and suicidal thoughts and worse, studies indicate.
Supporters of decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms, the paper writes, point to studies of their safety and say they can reduce stress and opioid use, among other arguments.
Perhaps so, but rendering a person incapacitated as a remedy is overkill for almost any ailment. The idea is to have a society comprised of people able to function within it. Although the go-to justification for the pro all-of-the-above legalization crowd is a decreased risk of opioid abuse, it is a “destroy the village in order to save it,” approach.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s camp said, when asked about the mushroom movement: “The administration is focused on working with the Cannabis Control Commission, DPH and state and local law enforcement to implement current marijuana laws as safely and effectively as possible.”
Not exactly a strong refutation.
Any such notion of legalizing dangerous drugs must be quashed by our elected leaders immediately. Already, some influential voices have become starry-eyed over the Portugal model, which decriminalized all drugs in 2001.
There were approximately 2,000 opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts in 2017 and 657 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths in the Bay State in the first six months of 2018. Immersing our most-vulnerable in an offering of even more drugs is a recipe for further disaster.
On a pragmatic level, it is also patently insane to even entertain the notion of introducing a new drug industry in the commonwealth. “We’re still struggling to make legal cannabis normalized here,” said Jim Borghesani, a pro-pot advocate who is now a spokesman for cannabis company Omnicann. “It’s going to take a while. It’s just not time yet to talk about mushrooms.
“I don’t think the populace is ready for it,” Borghesani told the Herald.
Unfortunately, special interests tend to push forward regardless of what the populace is ready for. There is a lot of money in the legal drug trade and a lot of parties want a piece of the action.
Colorado is first. In Oregon, a similar mushroom measure is being planned for 2020. There can be no doubt that lawmakers on Beacon Hill will not allow themselves to be out-progressived. It’s time to hold the line. An opioid crisis is ravaging cities and towns. No more decriminalized drugs.