Denver is leading the way by decriminalising shrooms

April FrancisMay 12, 2019

If ballot initiative 301 is passed, enforcement of penalties against people over 21 who use or possess psilocybin mushrooms - known colloquially as magic mushrooms - would be deprioritised in the Colorado state capital. The total stands at 89,320 votes in favor and 87,341 against, a margin of 1,979.

This would make the Mile High City the first in the decriminalize psilocybin.

If these results hold up, it would at a bare minimum justify psilocybin's removal from Schedule I, a classification reserved for drugs with "no now accepted medical use in treatment in the United States" and "a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision". "At the very least, we've demonstrated that we can get psilocybin legislation on the ballot".

Although recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, the mushroom referendum affected only Denver. In 2004, the citizens of Denver voted to decriminalize the possession of cannabis. It also calls for the creation of an 11-member psilocybin review panel to report back on the impact on public health and safety.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann opposes the initiative.

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Cannabis was decriminalised in Denver in 2005 and many opponents feared decriminalising magic mushrooms might portray the city as a drug haven to outsiders.

"We're not talking about legalization, we're talking about not putting people in jail", Sovine said.

The ban stymied medical research, but small studies in recent years found the substance had positive effects for cancer patients suffering anxiety and depression.

Kevin Matthews, director of this Decriminalize Denver campaign, stated psilocybin has helped him deal with depression for a long time. The FDA describes breakthrough therapy as created to expedite development of a drug after preliminary evidence shows "the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy". Many use it to cope with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and other conditions, according to organizers. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been "defragged" like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt "rebooted".

The measure, the first of its kind in the nation since mushrooms were outlawed in the 1960s, allows "personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms" by those 21 or older "the city's lowest law-enforcement priority".

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