SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — It's now a lot easier to use magic mushrooms in the witch city.
The Salem City Council voted unanimously last week to effectively decriminalize Psilocybin mushrooms in the city, which means that police will now deprioritize enforcing laws against the fungi and will not actively look for people that grow, possess, or consume them. City Councilor Jeff Cohen told WBZ's Shari Small scaling back enforcement on the mushrooms will help certain residents.
"This is primarily about helping people who might have issues like depression or other challenges," he said. "However, it's enabling people who grow their own to be able to use it."
Both Colorado and Oregon have decriminalized psilocybin and allow it to be used for medical reasons. Cities in several states have decriminalized the drugs, including Cambridge and Somerville. While this measure does not fully decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms, it allows people to use them without the fear of being prosecuted for it.
"They've done studies on psilocybin for many years, they have a lot of data about how it really does help people," Councilor Cohen said. "We had scientists and also therapists who talked about their perceived need to have this in their toolbox to help some of the patients they have."
Councilor Cohen said this effort would not have been possible without collaboration from the Salem Police Department.
"What was terrific is that we have a police chief who is willing to be open to listening about this," he said. "They don't feel like this is a crime that should be a top priority to them."
Councilor Cohen added that Salem Police will only look to arrest and charge people if they are using the drugs in an egregious and negative way.
WBZ's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports.