Health Care

Denver voters decide on decriminalizing 'magic mushrooms'

Denver voters decide on decriminalizing 'magic mushrooms'”

Denver voters will decide on Tuesday whether to decriminalize possession of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic drug that puts the magic in "magic mushrooms", in a vote that would make the Colorado capital the first USA city to stop such prosecutions.

"Tonight, it was win or learn", Kevin Matthews, the leader of the "Decriminalize Denver" movement, which placed Initiative 301 on the ballot, told USA Today.

The ordinance's text seeks to "deprioritize, to the greatest extent possible" criminal penalties imposed by the City of Denver "for the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms".

For decades, that status has stymied research into medical uses of psilocybin, but small, closely supervised studies in recent years have found that it can help treat anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

Magic mushrooms have been used in religious practices for decades due to their powerful effect on perceptions and spiritual experiences.

If passed, the ballot initiative would prohibit the city from imposing criminal penalties on people at least 21 years old who use the drug or have it in their possession.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann opposes the initiative.

However Decriminalise Denver, the group behind the initiative, argues that certain mushrooms "may be helpful in the treatment of cluster headaches, PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] and OCD [Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder]".

Activists in California failed to get a similar initiative on the ballot past year, and supporters in OR are hoping to put the matter to a vote statewide in 2020.

Denver residents first voted to decriminalize marijuana possession in 2004, years before Colorado voters ultimately approved its legalization statewide for recreational purposes, establishing a full regulatory framework to license retail outlets and collect sales taxes on cannabis products.

Organisers collected more than 8,000 signatures to get on the ballot, the third time they had attempted to put the proposal up for a vote.

Tuesday's referendum is the first United States public vote on magic mushrooms.

"That option should be available to everyone, without fear", said Williams, 29.

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".

"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.

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.

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