Published: Sat, May 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Denver passes referendum allowing magic mushrooms

Denver passes referendum allowing magic mushrooms

Almost 15 years after it became the first American city to legalise cannabis, Denver went to the polls on Tuesday to decide on decriminalising hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Initiative 301 narrowly squeaked by, passing with only 50.56% of the vote, according to the final unofficial results.

Officials said the vote would be certified on May 16 once all military and overseas ballots have been counted.

Magic mushrooms are not legal in Denver; the initiative merely directs the police to consider enforcement of existing laws as the lowest priority going forward.

In the lead-up to the vote, the Decriminalise Denver campaign turned to the same strategy that marijuana activists used to decriminalise cannabis possession in the city in 2005.

"This is not something you have to take every day", the 33-year-old Denver native said.

A number of other states have since allowed marijuana sales and use by adults. In a state where voters legalized marijuana for recreational use seven years ago, the psilocybin initiative was a test of whether that victory reflected widespread acceptance of a moral principle that could be extended to other drugs.

The federal government classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, with no medical objective and a high potential for abuse. But recent research has suggested psilocybin could be potentially used to treat anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and alcoholism. Those same effects have appealed to recreational users dating to the 1960s counterculture movement.

Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Decriminalize Denver, organized the grassroots effort to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.

Organizers collected more than 9,000 signatures to get decriminalization on the ballot. The city's election largely focused on a six-way race for mayor and a heated effort to end Denver's "urban camping" ban that affects people without housing.

Specifically, officials will now be barred from "spending resources to impose criminal penalties" for personal use and possession of the drug for residents over the age of 21.

The group also argues that "One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits". "No person deserves this kind of treatment for a substance this safe".

Like this: