A petition to decriminalize the possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms has appeared on the official UK petitions website and has begun to circulate online. The petition asks the UK government to “Please change the law to allow possession [of psilocybin-containing mushrooms] for personal use to those over 21(18) years of age.”
Psilocybin-containing mushrooms are deemed a Class A drug by the 1971 UK Misuse of Drugs Act alongside heroin and cocaine. Class A drugs are considered the most dangerous and carry the highest penalties for possession. Class B drugs, which include amphetamine and methaqualone, are considered less harmful.
The petition was started by Luke Colman and came on the heels of recent successful decriminalization efforts in the US cities of Oakland, California, and Denver, Colorado. The United Kingdom has not decriminalized any drugs for recreational use. In December, House Of Commons rejected a proposal to “legalize the possession and consumption of cannabis” with a 66 to 52 vote.
The UK petitions process and original website were created by then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2006. The current petitions site promises a response from the government for petitions with more than 10,000 signatories and consideration for debate in parliament once they pass 100,000 signatories. The site offers the following insight into issues that reach the threshold for debate:
Petitions which reach 100,000 signatures are almost always debated. But we may decide not to put a petition forward for debate if the issue has already been debated recently or there’s a debate scheduled for the near future. If that’s the case, we’ll tell you how you can find out more about parliamentary debates on the issue raised by your petition.
The most successful petition on the site to date, titled “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU”, collected more than six million signatures and was debated in UK parliament on April 1, 2019. While, as of this writing, the petition has only collected 653 signatures, organizers have until December 13, 2019, to collect enough signatures to reach the 10,000 or 100,000 signatory thresholds.
The United States government under President Barack Obama launched a similar petition platform at Whitehouse.gov and named “We the People.” A petition to “Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol” quickly appeared and became one of the most popular petitions on the site. The White House responded to that petition citing public health concerns as the primary reason not to legalize the plant.