Hot on the heels of a successful bid to convince Denver to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, a Colorado psychedelics activist is hoping to repeat his success on a national level.
Last May, the citizens of Denver voted in favor of a new ordinance that effectively decriminalized the use, personal cultivation, and posession of psilocybin mushrooms. The successful campaign to decriminalize this natural hallucinogen — which has shown promise in treating PTSD, fears of death connected with terminal illnesses, and alcoholism — was led by Decriminalize Denver. But now that the organization has accomplished its goal, its leader, Kevin Matthews, has set his sights on bringing psychedelic reform to the entire country.
Matthews is currently planning a new nonprofit called the Society for Psychedelic Outreach, Reform and Education, or SPORE for short. Matthews will take the reins as executive director and plans to bring in a lawyer, psychotherapist, and marketing expert to round out the team.
"What we did in Denver can be tailored to every major American city," said Matthews to Westword. "Every city has their own things that might change how we share the message, but there's the overarching theme that nobody should go to jail for using mushrooms."
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The new nonprofit will work to educate law enforcement and first responders on how to identify and recognize the effects of psilocybin. Matthews is hoping to create a network of professionals that can help with psilocybin education, including integration specialists who can offer post-trip assistance to users who may need help processing the thoughts and feelings they experienced while on psilocybin.
SPORE will continue Matthews' work in Colorado, lobbying local city councils to follow Denver's decriminalization lead, but plans to expand to other states. Oakland decriminalized psilocybin and other natural psychedelics this year, but Matthews is now working with Decriminalize California to bring shroom decriminalization to the entire Golden State next year.
Matthews intends to eventually apply for 501(c)(4) status, which will allow SPORE to engage in lobbying efforts on a federal level. "We fully intend to go to D.C. to speak with Congress members to see what can happen on a federal level," Matthews said. "We have a goal of decriminalizing psilocybin nationwide in 2026."