Spokane could soon join the growing number of cities and states that have decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms.
A new initiative would effectively end local enforcement of federal laws in the city of Spokane against the possession of psilocybin, a psychedelic drug naturally produced by what are commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms.”
The initiative was filed with the Spokane city clerk by attorney Pat Donahue and Mason Lord of Decriminalize Spokane in February.
City voters could decide on the proposal as early as the November election if organizers collect enough signatures in the coming months to qualify for the ballot. Supporters expect to begin collecting signatures to place the initiative on the ballot in the coming weeks.
If successful, the initiative would not legalize mushroom possession. Instead, it would prohibit local law enforcement officials from devoting any resources to enforcing the laws banning the possession and not-for-profit sale of psilocybin by adults.
“This is mostly about safety, and this is acknowledging certain legal substances that are accessible – like alcohol, for one – are far more dangerous,” Lord told The Spokesman-Review, adding he opposes “the criminalization of a substance that has so much research showing that it’s so much safer than legal substance adults (can access).”
If enacted, a new city law would state that possession of up to 6 ounces of dried mushroom – or its not-for-profit sale – by adults 21 or older is “the city’s lowest possible law enforcement priority.”
City law would also be amended to ban the use of psilocybin in public.
“It’s going to be the same rules as public use of cannabis,” Lord said. “You’re not going to be allowed to be out at Riverfront Park with a bag of mushrooms sitting on your blanket.”
Though psilocybin remains federally prohibited as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, cities like Denver and Oakland have passed similar measures limiting enforcement of psilocybin possession laws.
Those efforts helped spark Decriminalize Spokane, which Lord described as “grassroots” and “community-based,” in 2019.
“That was amazing to see what took place there, and there were some folks who wanted to bring the movement to Spokane and do something similar here,” Lord said.
Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes when a majority of voters approved Measure 109 last November. Measure 110, which was also backed by Oregon voters, decriminalized small amounts of drugs, including psilocybin.