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People have fallen severely ill or even died from eating a poisonous mushroom. Magic mushrooms are often sold raw or dried. In the UK, the most common types are liberty caps Psilocybe semilanceata and fly agaric Amanita muscaria.

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Campaign manager for the Denver Psilocybin Initiative Kevin Matthews wears a mushroom necklace at an election watch party for a bill to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. In early May, Denver voted to become the first city in the United States to decriminalize psilocybin "magic mushrooms," a favorite hallucinogen of the more cosmically minded Americans, and a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

Magic mushrooms

With marijuana legalization sweeping the country, it's likely that hallucinogens like psilocybin are among the safest recreational drugs that could follow suit. But in the meantime, Denver's decriminalization initiative marks an unusual moment in the U. Olson had worked on biowarfare projects during the height of the Korean War, and for years after his dramatic death, the official explanation was suicide.

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After the accidental dosing, many ''developed serious side effects. Olson was far from the only American forcibly dosed with LSD in the service of the CIA's attempted weaponization of hallucinogens, but his long, strange trip ended just eight days after his dosage, on a New York sidewalk.

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But despite the revelations surrounding his demise in the s, the U. Army officials claimed in the Rockefeller report that the scientist "may have had a history of emotional instability," an indelible lie that had nearly destroyed Olson's family over the subsequent years. But more importantly, Olson wasn't just an early, forgotten victim of the nascent War on Drugs, or even the subject of a sprawling government conspiracy as his son later alleged and was detailed in the miniseries Wormwood.

Even though LSD was outlawed in — years before the report came out—under the Controlled Substances Act, the centerpiece of President Richard Nixon's War on Drugs, the Rockefeller report made him an unwitting poster boy for the dangers of hallucinogens.

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Hallucinogenic substances like LSD and psilocybin were placed strictly in the Schedule I category, defined as having "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," for the same reason as marijuana: as part of Nixon's counter-counter-culture push to "[get] the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminaliz[e] both heavily, [so] we could disrupt those communities," a former Nixon adviser told Harper's. Outside of marijuana and heroin, the emerging American cosmology of psychedelics was a prime target for Nixon's Drug Enforcement Agency: As Tao Lin detailed in Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Changethe goal of listing LSD as a Schedule I drug was "to strongly convey that psychedelics were the most useless and destructive class of drugs.

And that's where Olson's mysterious death became useful to the U. Most have their roots in Olson's LSD-drenched plunge.

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Years of recent studies have since vindicated Olson. While hallucinogens like LSD and psilocybin can certainly introduce long-term psychological issues into individuals with existing underlying issues, they rarely trigger addictive behaviors and accidental overdoses, making them among the safest drugs in terms of outright risk. Inan analysis by John Hopkins University researchers in Neuropharmacology even recommended reclassifying psilocybin itself from a Schedule I to a Schedule IV substance on par with prescription sleeping pills in order to capitalize on their potential medical applications, including treating alcoholism, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder, among other issues.

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But while there has been recent research it isn't exactly cutting edge: The U. Lin notes that a internal Army study found that "there has not been a single case of residual ill effect" recorded in the "prolific scientific literature" collected on years of LSD tests on thousands of soldiers: "Personal communication between U.

Army Chemical Corps personnel and other researchers in this field have failed to disclose an authenticated instance of irreversible change being produced in normal humans by the drug. Denver's mushroom legalization isn't just a major milestone on the path to drug legalization in the U. It's a governmental moment of clarity for a devoted scientist who was turned into a cautionary tale through no real fault of his own—and a body blow against the bygone boogeymen of drug-induced violence and criminality of a generation past.

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California desert town takes back the night, wins rare "Dark Sky" award. The U. The International Astronomical Union has established a committee to finalize a list of official star names.

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