First, it was pot. Now it's mushrooms.

Despite the obvious benefits of medicinal marijuana, most of us never expected the day would come when we would see the drug approved for recreational use. But, sure enough, that day came. Could psychedelic mushrooms be headed down the same path?

The first step in decriminalizing psilocybin in Colorado has been taken. The Denver Elections Division has accepted an initiative which would legalize personal use, possession, and growth of the drug in Denver. Now, if enough signatures can be collected, the measure would go before Denver voters in next May's election.

If the measure gets that far, and if voters approve it, it only applies to Denver. However, it seems reasonable to assume that other communities would follow suit, just as they have done with pot.

From what I understand, there are some medical benefits associated with psilocybin, but I'm not sure we need to adopt a free-reign policy regarding its use. Hydrocodone and Oxycodone (aka Vicodin and Percocet) are both perfectly legal, but there is a reason why they are controlled substances and highly restricted. Their misuse and abuse is well-documented.

We already have provisions in place that allow doctors to prescribe psilocybin in particular situations. It's possible that laws need to be loosened to allow doctors more freedom to prescribe the drug when needed. But, it seems reasonable to think this sort of drug should remain in the hands of the healthcare professionals who are best equipped to administer it safely.

[WESTWORD]