North Dakota Decriminalizes…Somewhat
In a close race, voters in Denver have decided to decriminalize psilocybin, otherwise known as the psychedelic compound found in "magic mushrooms." The bill passed with just under 51 percent of the vote.
The result of the bill passing does not mean the psilocybin mushrooms are now legal, but rather they have been decriminalized. That's a bit of a tricky concept to grasp what essentially what it means is arrests for the drug are now the lowest possible priority for law enforcement officials. Use of the drug in public is still a crime, but growing and using in the confines of your own home for those over the age of 21 would be permitted. Additionally, the bill prohibits the city from using public funds or resources to prosecute in cases of mushroom possession. Finally, the bill also will create an 11-person psilocybin review panel that will monitor how the decriminalization impacts public health and safety.
Other cities and states will likely closely monitor the situation. So how does it relate to North Dakota?
While Colorado has grabbed national headlines, North Dakota has mostly flown under the radar after Governor Burgum signed a bill on May 2 that will greatly reduce the penalty for marijuana possession. We first covered the proposed bills in February
The new law makes it so first-time offenders caught possessing half an ounce or less of cannabis will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, but no jail time. Additional infractions over the course of a year from the initial citation could result in misdemeanor charges. Possession of larger quantities will now carry a lesser sentence as well. Possession amounts between half an ounce and 500 grams will now be considered a Class B misdemeanor instead of a felony, and paraphernalia possession will be treated as an infraction.
These new laws will go into effect August 1.