A Denver-based Rabbi who had been arrested for growing psilocybin mushrooms for his congregation has been allowed to go scott free. This comes after the Denver District Attorney’s Office dismissed a felony drug case against him. The dismissing judge cited the recently passed Proposition 122, which technically legalizes psychedelics for medicinal use in Colorado. Carolyn Tyler, speaking on behalf of the DA’s office, has stated that the dismissal has been done “in the interest of justice.”
Rabbi Ben Gorelick, the defendant, has been the leader of a religious group in Denver that uses psilocybin ceremoniously. Denver police raided Gorelick’s private warehouse in February and busted him with over 30 different types of psychedelic mushrooms which he was growing illegally. While psilocybin was decriminalized for personal use in Denver in 2019, the sale or distribution of the psychedelic remained illegal.
Gorelick was subsequently charged with a first-degree felony for illegally growing psilocybin with an intention to distribute it. Unfortunately, the congregation has had to suspend their gatherings since the arrest in February. This is something that has “broken the community,” as has been expressed by a member.
The good rabbi has admitted that even though he’s not sure why or how the charges were dropped, he’s very happy to reunite with his congregation and continue with their spiritual practice.
The ruling by the DA’s office sets a precedent for psilocybin-related charges in Denver. A similar case involving a Denver-based chemist whose premises was raided in January has also been dropped.