Colorado man accused of selling psychedelic ‘magic mushrooms’ claims he was gifting them under state’s new proposition

Colorado voters in November decriminalized the possession, use and sharing of psilocybin mushrooms, but selling the mushrooms remains illegal

Ryan Spencer
Summit Daily
The Summit County Justice Center is pictured in Breckenridge.
Summit Daily News Archive

A Dillon man is facing a felony drug distribution charge as prosecutors allege he sold psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “magic” mushrooms, in violation of state law.

But the 32-year-old man accused of unlawful distribution, dispensing or sale of a controlled substance, a Class 3 drug felony, claims he was “donating,” not selling, the mushrooms, according to a warrantless arrest probable cause statement. Class 3 drug felonies are punishable by two to four years in prison.

In November, Colorado voters passed Proposition 122, which decriminalized the personal possession, use and sharing of psilocybin mushrooms. Under the proposition, it is not illegal for people 21 or older to give away mushrooms to those who are 21 or older, but it remains illegal to sell mushrooms.

On April 14, Dillon police responded to a plaza near the Dillon Ridge Shopping Center after a caller reported a man had set up a table outside a shop with signs advertising “magic mushrooms” and “Free hugs & mushees,” according to the court documents.

Upon the arrival of police, the man reportedly put away the signs and sat at the table with nothing except a jug of water and disposable cups. When police asked the man what “magic mushrooms” his signs were referring to, he said he was “taking donations” and giving psilocybin mushrooms as a “gift” to those who donated, the documents state.

Police asked about the donations, and the man said they were for a “nonprofit,” according to the probable cause statement. When asked about which nonprofit they were donating to, the man reportedly said he was attempting to start one himself. When pressed by police, the suspect added, “(they’re) donating to me,” the document states.

The man reportedly gave police permission to look into a duffle bag, which contained many large plastic bags of dried mushrooms and several smaller bags. The man further told police he had accepted $50 in exchange for a 7-gram bag of mushrooms, according to the probable cause statement.

Dillon Police reportedly called the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office to discuss next steps before arresting the man without incident. A small food scale, which police said can be used to weigh drugs, was discovered when the man was searched, the documents state.

After police took the man’s phone, the phone received a message from a man stating he was passing along the phone number to “a homie looking for some booms,” according to the probable cause statement. “Booms” is a common street name for psilocybin mushrooms, police noted in the documents.

In a phone interview, District Attorney Heidi McCollum she would not discuss the facts of particular case.

However, she said “We are well aware of what the new law states, and we believe we are well within what it does state with this charge.

“The law does also say it is illegal for remuneration of any kind in exchange for mushrooms,” she said.

Renumeration means “to pay an equivalent for” something, like a service, loss or expense, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

“Anyone who is soliciting donations for, and then claiming they are not getting remuneration for, seems to contradict itself,” she said.

A public defender representing the man did not return a request for comment

This story is from Summit Daily.

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