Magic mushrooms go mainstream in Colorado

Fungi are ready for their close-up.

Driving the news: After Coloradans voted to legalize psilocybin in 2022, “magic mushrooms” are now becoming more mainstream, with a first-of-its-kind study and a national psychedelic conference on the horizon.

State of play: The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora this month announced it would launch the first modern-era psilocybin clinical trial for depression this fall.

Details: The hospital is working with the Food and Drug Administration on the study, though the federal government classifies psilocybin mushrooms as a Schedule 1 narcotic.

  • It’s grouped with the most serious category of illicit drugs, including heroin and cocaine.

The intrigue: Gov. Jared Polis last week signed a bill implementing Proposition 122, which allows people 21 and older to grow and share magic mushrooms.

  • The bill also creates a regulated therapy system for medicinal use — establishing “healing centers” for people to use psilocybin under supervision — and removes criminal penalties for personal possession.

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Parents Of Christian Glass Getting $19 Million Settlement

The family of a man from Colorado who was shot and killed by a deputy last year will be awarded a $19 million settlement, marking the largest payout of its kind in the state’s history.

The incident occurred in Silver Plume on June 11 when 22-year-old Christian Glass, a resident of Boulder, contacted 911 for assistance after his SUV became stuck in a rock pile.

Based on body camera footage and an autopsy report provided by the family’s legal representatives, it was observed that Glass appeared to be holding a knife at the time of the shooting. Despite nearly 70 minutes of negotiations and requests, Glass refused to exit his Honda Pilot, resulting in him being shot five times.

On Tuesday, his parents, Sally and Simon Glass, reached a multi-million dollar settlement with Clear Creek County, the state of Colorado, the city of Georgetown, and the town of Idaho Springs.

This settlement represents the largest amount awarded for a police-related killing in the history of Colorado. As part of the agreement, Clear Creek County has committed to establishing a public park in memory of Glass. Additionally, they will establish a dedicated crisis response team by January 1 of the following year. The state of Colorado will also implement changes in training for law enforcement agencies, which will include the development of a virtual reality scenario focused on de-escalation, designed to reflect the circumstances surrounding Christian Glass’s tragic death.

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Colorado Councilwoman Wants to Tax White-Owned Businesses to Atone for ‘Stolen Land’

A Denver city councilwoman facing a runoff election in June said white-owned businesses should pay reparations for the sins of slavery.

During a business forum, Candi CdeBaca — a Democrat socialist — said the race-based tax could be levied by the business improvement districts, as first reported by 9News. A business improvement district is managed by local business owners, residents, and local government officials and can levy incremental tax increases which are then redistributed in a specific geographic region, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

“Capitalism was built on stolen land, stolen labor, and stolen resources,” CdeBaca told the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, 9 News reported. “You could be collecting those extra taxes from white-led businesses all over the city and redistributing them to black and brown-owned businesses.”

While a tax levy can be distributed to assist underserved businesses, the tax can’t be applied based on an individual’s skin color.  That would be illegal under federal law, but the 37-year-old argued this plan would not be illegal since the taxes levied are “voluntary.”

A spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Finance told 9 News this was false. 

“Non-residentially assessed property owners within the BID are required to pay the additional taxes/fees,” said spokesperson Courtney Meihls. “It’s not voluntary.” 

Footage of CdeBaca became viral after being picked up by the Libs of TikTok page, garnering the video more than 4 million views. Critics have said this proposal is going too far. 

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Colorado House Dems Vote Against Making Indecent Exposure to Children a Felony, Argue It Targets Drag Shows

Colorado House Democrats are sending a message that any legislation that restricts ‘drag shows’ performed in front of children should not be passed. Even if it is legislation against “indecent exposure” and performing sexual acts with children.

“27 Democrats in the Colorado House of Reps just voted against making indecent exposure to minors a class 6 felony,” Greg Price reported, citing the Colorado House Republicans. “One Democrat said that the bill ‘targets’ drag shows and the transgender community.”

“These types of laws have been used to ban drag shows to target individuals who use the restroom of the sex that they identify with a public restroom to charge them with felony charges,” one Democrat lawmaker argued. “I am very concerned about the attacks against the transgender community that are happening across the country.”

“When I initially read this bill, it did not even come to mind for me either as an advocate, but as I’ve looked at the bills and as I’ve talked to my colleagues who are fighting these types of bills across the country, it’s very clear to me that the language is very much mirrored in some of the laws that have been used to target members of our community because of who they are,” she continued.

The Colorado General Assembly is attempting to pass HB23-1135, which is entitled, “Concerning the offense classification for indecent exposure in view of a minor, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.”

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Colorado school district to introduce biometric scans of kids for free school meal access

The Poudre School District, in Colorado, will be piloting a controversial biometrics program to make the distribution of free lunches more “efficient.”

The pilot program will launch by May 25, 2023 in elementary, middle, and high schools, if it doesn’t go contested.

According to the school district, the biometric scans would take around two seconds. The program will use identiMetrics scanners, which will replace the current system where students have to enter their ID number on a keyboard to access their free school meal.

The fingerprints will be stored locally by the school district.

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Colorado steps off into the world of ‘magic mushrooms’

It is being hailed as everything from the beginning of a journey to the coming of a new industry, but for sure it’s a step toward legal consumption of “magic mushrooms” in Colorado. The involved event is merely a bureaucratic exercise — today’s first advisory board meeting will, over the next couple of years, move “magic mushrooms” into a legal and regulated space.

The mushrooms are usually eaten and are therefore considered a food safety issue by some. 

Psilocybin mushrooms are classified as an illegal Schedule I drug under federal law. Schedule I drugs include substances that are not recognized for medical use and that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines as having a high potential for abuse and dependence.

The 15-member advisory board appointed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is supposed to make an exception for Colorado. The Natural Medicine Advisory Board will advise Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) on the manufacturing, testing, and use of psilocybin and psilocin — the psychoactive compounds in “magic mushrooms.”

In November 2022, Colorado became the second state to legalize psilocybin by passage of a ballot measure. Oregon was the first in 2020. The City and County of Denver in 2021 also approved Ordinance 301 to decriminalize the use and possession in Denver of magic mushrooms.

The Denver ordinance deprioritizes, to the greatest extent possible, the imposition of criminal penalties on anyone 21 years of age and older for the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms; and prohibits the city and county of Denver from spending resources on imposing criminal penalties on people 21 years of age and older for the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushroom.

Just as it did with recreational marijuana after the 2012 voter initiative, Colorado is clearing the path to make the use of “magic mushrooms” legal. The current schedule calls for the advisory board to make its first recommendations to DORA by Sept. 30, 2023, and DORA is supposed to adopt rules and begin licensing for the centers where mushroom use will be administered one year later by Sept. 30, 2024.

Also by Jan. 1, 2024, individuals who’ve gone through required training will become eligible for licenses.

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Is Telling Someone To ‘Die’ on Facebook Protected by the First Amendment?

“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment,” the U.S. Supreme Court said in the 1989 case Texas v. Johnson, “it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” In practice, that principle means all sorts of despicable utterances, including “hate speech,” are constitutionally protected.

But the Court also has said that the First Amendment has its limits. One of them involves “true threats” of violence. In the 2003 case Virginia v. Black, the justices defined that category as “those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” The First Amendment, the Court held, “permits” the government “to ban a ‘true threat.'”

Deciding what counts as a “true threat” is no easy task, however. In April, the justices heard oral arguments in Counterman v. Colorado, which asks “whether, to establish that a statement is a ‘true threat’ unprotected by the First Amendment, the government must show that the speaker subjectively knew or intended the threatening nature of the statement, or whether it is enough to show that an objective ‘reasonable person’ would regard the statement as a threat of violence.”

Billy Raymond Counterman was convicted under a Colorado anti-stalking law after sending a musician numerous Facebook messages from various accounts. “Fuck off permanently,” one message said. “You’re not being good for human relations,” said another. “Die. Don’t Need You.”

The state law under which Counterman was convicted makes it a crime to repeatedly make “any form of communication with another person….that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person….to suffer serious emotional distress.” Whether or not Counterman intended to convey a threat was immaterial under that law.

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Family Shocked as Cop Who Beat Elderly Grandma to Be Released Early, Serving Less than 1/5 of Sentence

On June 26, 2020, Karen Garner, 73, walked from her home to the local Walmart two blocks away to get some supplies. Everything that happened after this trip to Walmart became the subject of an excessive force lawsuit against the Loveland Police Department that cost taxpayers $3 million because they have no idea how to treat elderly women with dementia.

That $3 million now goes to the round-the-clock care required for Garner after the attack left her disabled.

For nearly a year, the cops who savagely attacked the elderly woman thought they got away with it. However, in April 2021, the Loveland city manager announced that Officer Austin Hopp, Officer Daria Jalali, Sgt. Phil Metzler, and Community service officer Tyler Blackett had all been suspended and placed on administrative leave. Then, the following May, Jalali and Hopp were both charged.

At the time, the chief of the Loveland police department, Robert Ticer referred to the incident, saying, “What you saw on the video is not the Loveland Police Department.”

In March, Hopp took a plea deal. Before that deal, Hopp had faced a mandatory sentence between 10 and 32 years for his brutal attack on the innocent woman as she picked flowers walking home from the store.

Last May, Hopp was sentenced to 5 years but thanks to his blue privilege, this cop could be out of jail next week — after serving only nine months. CBS reports Hopp is scheduled to appear in a northern Colorado court next week to possibly be transitioned out of prison and into a halfway house program.

“The Garner family is shocked and confused that former Officer Hopp is being offered a parole hearing to discuss the opportunity of moving to Community Corrections,” the family wrote in a statement. “His plea deal and sentence of 2-5 years did not even offer the opportunity of a parole hearing until April of 2024. He’s only served 9 months of his sentence. This is likely being offered due to prison overcrowding, according the CO DCC website, and we’d like to know what Governor Polis is doing to make sure violent offenders are not being let out years early, as is happening in this case.”

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Woke Stars Shine: Colorado College Astrophysics Prof Claims the Study of Space Is Racist, Sexist

Colorado College astrophysics professor Natalie Gosnell says her field is engrossed in “white supremacy” and sexism, adding that language used to describe the cosmos is “very violent and hyper-masculine.”

Gosnell, who is dismayed over society separating “math” and “creativity” into two categories, says dichotomizing these two characteristics is rooted in systemic racism and sexism, according to a report by Colorado College News.

“As an astrophysicist, I’m a product of institutions that are steeped in systemic racism and white supremacy,” Gosnell told the student newspaper.

“The tenets of white supremacy that show up [in physics] of individualism and exceptionalism and perfectionism… it’s either-or thinking, and there’s no subtlety, there’s no gray area,” the professor added. “All of this manifests in the way that we think about our research, and what counts as good research, what counts as important research?”

Colorado College News concurred, adding that “most of Gosnell’s career has been dictated by the hyper-masculine world of astrophysics.”

When a star transfers its mass to an orbiting star, for example, this process is discussed “through a violent, hyper-masculine lens,” the student newspaper said, noting that the phenomenon has been referred to as a “Vampire star” or “Cannibal star,” with Gosnell adding that these stars are also viewed as the “bad boys” of the universe.

“I think because science and art have been so separated, and there’s — systemic issues within science, the metaphors that are often chosen [to discuss science] are very violent and hyper-masculine,” the professor said.

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Room goes SILENT when CEO says parents ‘don’t have the right’ to know about child’s sex change

On “The Rubin Report,” BlazeTV host Dave Rubin shared a video clip from a recent House of Representatives hearing in which CEO and executive director of Inside Out Youth Services, Jessie Pocock, skirted around the question of whether parents have the right to know if their child is seeking “gender-affirming care” before finally admitting that “parents don’t have the right” — at least not in her home state of Colorado.

Asked by Texas Rep. Michael Cloud (R) if she believes parents have a right to be involved in “these sorts of discussions,” Pocock first answered that “anyone can be a trusted adult” to a child facing the “difficult problem” of gender identity. Pressed again, she said there are “about 100 parents who participate in our programs to support their young people … at Inside Out.”

“But do parents have a right to know, is my question,” Cloud stated.

“Do parents have a right to know what?” Pocock asked irritably. But when Cloud again repeated the question, she began to talk about children in abusive homes.

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