DENVER — The owner of a Denver psilocybin support center said he's not afraid to be one of the first people to try out a new business model following the passage of Proposition 122, which decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms.
Darren Lyman offers support sessions, and then provides the mushrooms for free.
After Lyman took out an ad in Westword, his business at a studio in the 800 block of W. Eighth Avenue gained popularity. When Denver7 visited the location on Nov. 10, his doorbell rang several times throughout the interview.
"I don't have a problem being the leader," said Lyman.
Lyman said he's operating completely within Colorado's new Natural Medicine Act, also known as Proposition 122. The law decriminalized the personal possession, growing, sharing, and use of magic mushrooms. The sale of psilocybin mushrooms, however, remains illegal.
Lyman said clients pay for support sessions, where he explains the ins and outs of psychedelic mushrooms.
"Training people on how to utilize the mushrooms or the edible that they've picked... teaching them how to dose it, how to get the right effect that they're looking for," he explained.
Lyman also teaches clients how to stop or decrease the effects.
"From charcoal capsules to dancing, to music, to just changing up your environment," he said.
Offering support through psilocybin is nothing new for Lyman, who was by his father's side as he suffered from multiple sclerosis.
"Since I started making both cannabis and psilocybin edibles for my dad, I've seen his healing process," said Lyman.
Shannon Donnelly, a professor at Metropolitan State University Denver, is a consultant who helped cannabis businesses navigate decriminalization and eventually regulation.
"One thing that I think is interesting to note is that grow, gather, and gift of psychedelic medicine is legal, meaning you can cultivate your own personal supply of mushrooms or of psychedelic material," said Donnelly. "You can gather, and actually be with people and pay people to sit with you while you take this medicine. And then you can gift that to individuals. There is no legal way to purchase mushrooms."
Donnelly said it's unclear whether law enforcement will crack down on people who find creative ways to navigate the law.
"There's individuals who are very risk tolerant and are willing to make the choices, and they can make a lot of money doing that," said Donnelly. "When we see brand new industry starting, those risk takers are the ones that — while maybe being enforced against at some time — are the ones that are able to kind of create industry around their choices."
One client of Lyman's clients, who spoke with Denver7 anonymously, said they appreciate Lyman's efforts.
"I think when I'm done (with mushrooms), I have a little bit of a fresher outlook on life, and maybe that could be if I was in a depressed state, maybe that could feel like I was no longer depressed," they said.
While the future of the business is unclear, Lyman plans to continue his work. He plans to expand his offerings, and even work with a chocolatier.