Denver is on the brink of becoming the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms. Psilocybin, the substance in psychedelic mushrooms, can cause hallucinations and mood changes, eliciting spiritual or emotional experiences.
An initiative on the May 7 Denver ballot initially looked like it had failed, but after most votes were counted later the next day, it appears residents narrowly voted in its favor. Final, though unofficial, results show 50.56% of voters approved the measure. The Denver Post reports that the elections division will continue accepting military and overseas ballots, but those numbers are usually small. The results, which could change, will be certified on May 16.
Initiative 301 decriminalizes the use or possession of mushrooms that contain psilocybin by people 21 and older. It directs police to make enforcement of laws against psilocybin possession their lowest priority. It will still be illegal to buy, sell or possess psychedelic mushrooms.
A growing push
The Denver initiative is groundbreaking because it would be the first of its kind to pass. A similar attempt in California fell short of making it onto the 2018 ballot, Time points out. Organizers in Oregon are trying to get a similar magic mushroom measure on the ballot in 2020. In Iowa, a lawmaker recently proposed two bills, reports Iowa Public Radio: one removing psilocybin from the state's list of controlled substances, and the other legalizing it for medical use.
Organizers of the Denver initiative said their main goal was to prevent residents from being jailed for using a substance that has helped some people with depression, anxiety, headaches and other conditions.
"No one should go to jail, lose their children, lose their job, and lose their citizen's rights for using a mushroom. One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits," the Decriminalize Denver campaign says on its website.