Marijuana and mushroom possession are not crimes in Denver. Driving while high is.

Criminal Law
Marijuana and mushroom possession are not crimes in Denver. Driving while high is.

No doubt, you already know that Colorado was one of the first states to fully legalize marijuana for recreational as well as medicinal purposes. Then, in 2019, the city of Denver decriminalized psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms or “shrooms.”

These changes have greatly reduced the number of drug possession charges that people in Denver face for having small amounts of drugs for personal use. But that does not mean the law accepts the use of marijuana or mushrooms in every situation.

To put it into perspective: Drinking alcohol is legal in Colorado, but drinking and driving is not. Consuming marijuana is legal in Colorado, but driving while high is not.

What about psilocybin/hallucinogenic mushrooms?

Remember that decriminalization is not the same is legalization.

Federal law considers psilocybin a Schedule 1 drug. But Denver has decriminalized it, putting the city at odds with federal law. In essence, decriminalizing psilocybin in Denver means that enforcing federal laws against psilocybin is very low priority. In three years, only 11 psilocybin-related drug crimes have been prosecuted, out of 9,267 total.

But driving while high on psilocybin is another matter.

Why is driving while high illegal?

Both marijuana and psilocybin are generally considered safe to take, but they can affect a user’s brain in profound ways. Magic mushrooms cause hallucinations, and marijuana affects reflexes and judgment. Driving while high on either of these substances is risky — and against the law. In Colorado, it is called driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID. Penalties can include between 10 days and a year in jail, community service and fines.

However, it is more difficult for police to determine if someone is over the legal limit for legal recreational drugs compared with alcohol. Roadside testing for marijuana is not as precise as alcohol breath tests. Therefore, it may be easier for the arresting officer to make a mistake that violates your rights, leads to an unjust arrest, or both.

Don’t act without knowing the facts

If you have been arrested on a DUID charge involving psilocybin or marijuana, it is important to know all your options before deciding to plead guilty or go to trial. A rash decision can have long-term consequences on your life.

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Kevin Cheney

Attorney Kevin Cheney, an experienced personal injury lawyer based in Denver, Colorado, serves as the Managing Partner at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, LLC. He specializes in personal injury and auto accident cases. His approach combines deep legal knowledge with a commitment to client advocacy. Education: Graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law, demonstrating early legal prowess and a passion for justice. Professional Associations: Active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Colorado Bar Association, contributing significantly to legislative and community initiatives. Experience: Extensive experience in handling complex personal injury cases, with a track record of securing substantial compensations for clients.

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