Denver Votes on Decriminalizing Magic Mushrooms Tomorrow

Denver Votes on Decriminalizing Magic Mushrooms Tomorrow

Residents of Denver were voting on Tuesday on whether to make the city the first in the United States to decriminalise "magic mushrooms".

The citizen-led initiative sought to make Denver the first USA city where use or possession of psilocybin by people 21 and older was the lowest law enforcement priority.

With all precincts reporting late Tuesday night, the "no" votes for the initiative held a substantial lead over the "yes" votes, according to unofficial returns.

The ordinance seeks to downgrade the penalties and deprioritize prosecution for those who are in the possession or use psilocybin mushrooms. The movement is primarily focused on making these mushrooms legal and thereby preventing people of 21 years and older from going to prison for the possession and usage of psilocybin mushrooms.

The ballot measure, Initiated Ordinance 301, would also establish a panel to review the law's impact on public health and safety.

The federal government still classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, defined as having no medical goal and a high potential for abuse. In 2005, the city became the first major city in the USA to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Matthews said his own experience with mushrooms had helped him overcome major depression.

Small research studies have found psilocybin had positive effects on anxiety and depression for cancer patients but it remains illegal.

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A California proposal to decriminalise psilocybin failed to qualify for the ballot previous year.

It's the latest envelope-pushing drug policy considered in the progressive "Mile High" city, so named for its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, where citizens decriminalized marijuana possession back in 2005. Organizers in OR, meanwhile, are trying to gain enough support to put an initiative to a statewide vote next year.

It took the pro-psilocybin organizers in Denver three tries to develop language approved by city officials for the ballot.

The initiative does not legalize psilocybin or permit its sale by Denver's cannabis businesses. "Humans have used these mushrooms for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight, strengthening community, and raising consciousness", the group says on its website.

Advocates in Denver amassed 9,500 signatures to put the issue on Tuesday's ballot. "One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits".

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and District Attorney Beth McCann have both publicly opposed the proposal. "No person deserves this kind of treatment for a substance this safe".

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