Five months after Denver voters decriminalized certain psychedelic mushroom offenses, the Denver Police Department has made its first arrests for possession. But details of the arrests indicate that the department didn't violate the spirit of the decriminalization ballot initiative.
On October 11, police officers arrested two minors on suspicion that they were in possession of psychedelic mushrooms. The decriminalization initiative only covers personal possession, growth and consumption for people 21 and older; juveniles aren't protected.
The DPD offered few details on the two juveniles because they're underage, but the department did confirm that they have been charged with hallucinogenic possession by the Denver District Attorney's Office. Police also found the two to be in possession of marijuana.
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Since decriminalization took effect in mid-May, Denver police have made a handful of other arrests during which they've found psychedelic mushrooms. But this was the first time since voters approved the measure that Denver residents were arrested and charged specifically for possession of psychedelic mushrooms.
The language of the ballot measure called for police to make targeting personal mushroom offenses a low priority. It also stipulated that local law enforcement agencies cannot use city funds to target and prosecute personal mushroom offenses.
The initiative did not, however, decriminalize dealing and or put constraints on state and federal law enforcement agencies.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is still going after alleged dealers, including 27-year-old Kole Milner. On September 11, DEA agents searched Milner's apartment in southeast Denver after they suspected him of manufacturing and dealing psychedelic mushrooms. The DEA agents learned about Milner's alleged mushroom dealing through multiple news articles, social media and a state database of cannabis employees. By the time the search was over, DEA agents left Milner's apartment with 906 live mushrooms and 20.42 ounces of dried mushrooms. No charges have been filed by the District of Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office, and Milner hasn't been arrested.