Denver votes on whether to become first city to decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms’

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Denver votes on whether to become first city to decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms’

In 2005, Denver became the first major USA city to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults aged 21 or older.

Psilocybin has been outlawed in the US since the 1960s, and some researchers warn that it should only be used under medical supervision and can prompt paranoia and anxiety.

The local ballot measure would not quite legalize "magic" mushrooms, the ones that contain psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound.

If passed, the initiative also includes a requirement for the city to establish a "policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance".

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies the drug as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning the agency has deemed that it has a high potential for abuse and now has no accepted medical use. Users describe seeing vivid colors and experiencing powerful emotions.

While possession of the psychedelic drugs wouldn't become legal, it would become a low priority for law enforcement, although. But there is nearly no organized opposition to the pro-psilocybin campaign, Decriminalize Denver. Recent medical research has discovered that psilocybin can be used to treat depression and anxiety in patients when other medications have not worked.

However, the group supporting I-301, Decriminalize Denver, claims that people have been using mushrooms "for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight, strengthening community and raising consciousness". Last year, a similar measure failed to qualify for the statewide ballot in California.

Tyler Williams, a financial planner, enlisted a friend to take his photo outside a Denver polling place before he voted 'yes.' Williams worked on the campaign's initial attempts to get on the ballot, motivated by what he called a positive experience using psilocybin to manage severe depression.

"Magic Mushrooms" have been used for recreation use for a long time.

"We're still figuring out marijuana, and even though things are going well so far, we're still measuring the impacts on the people of Denver", McCann said.

Mayor Michael Hancock, who is running for re-election, has told the Denver Post that he opposes the mushroom question.

The language of Initiative 301 also would have prohibited "the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties" for personal use, possession and growth.

Matthews says he's optimistic about his initiative's chances, telling Reason that the yes side's canvassing efforts have encountered few die-hard opponents. "No person deserves this kind of treatment for a substance this safe". "One arrest is too many".

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