Denver becomes first U.S. city to decriminalize 'magic mushrooms'


As Denver voters went to the polls on Tuesday for a mayoral election, they were also asked to decide whether to decriminalize possession of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic drug in what is widely known as "magic mushrooms".

In addition to making enforcement of laws regarding psilocybin mushroom the lowest possible priority, the law would prevent the city from using public funds or resources to prosecute people charged with crimes related to mushroom possession.

Magic mushrooms contain a psychedelic chemical, psilocybin, which under U.S. federal law belongs in the same group of banned drugs as heroin or LSD.

Despite the result, possession or use of the psychedelic mushrooms will still technically be illegal.

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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".

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Organizers say their only goal in the mushroom measure is to keep people for possessing or using the medication to cope with nervousness, depression, post-traumatic stress and other conditions. Matthews said his own experience with mushrooms had helped him overcome major depression. Consumers have described experiencing emotions and spiritual connections, and seeing colors and geometric patterns. Those same effects have appealed to recreational users dating back to the 1960s counterculture movement.

Last year, a similar measure to decriminalise psilocybin mushrooms in California failed to gain enough signatures for inclusion on the ballot.

But according to Decriminalize Denver, the group behind Tuesday's ballot initiative, psilocybin has a wide range of medical benefits. Organizers in OR are trying to gather enough support to put an initiative to a statewide vote next year. The larger issue here is not good for our city.

But if the measure is approved, she supports formation of a review panel under the initiative to study the effects of the drug and the impact the ordinance would have on Denver, spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said. "One arrest is too many".

"It's been one hell of a 21-and-a-half hours", Kevin Matthews who led the decriminalisation campaign, told The Denver Post after the vote results were announced.