Denver first US city to decriminalise ‘magic mushrooms’
Denver is about to become the first US city to effectively decriminalise magic mushrooms, according to the final unofficial tally of votes on the ballot initiative on the hallucinogenic drug, held on Wednesday, 8 May. The initiative called for no longer imposing criminal penalties for people at least 21 years old for possessing or using psilocybin mushrooms, which are commonly called magic mushrooms.
The Denver Elections Division is scheduled to certify the initiative results on 16 May, but on Wednesday, the agency’s website showed a final vote count of 50.6% in favour of the initiative and 49.4% opposed. After certification of the initiative, psilocybin would still be illegal under both US federal and Colorado state law. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies the hallucinogenic drug as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning that the DEA has determined that psilocybin mushrooms have a potential for abuse and no accepted medical purpose.
But, as well as prohibiting the city’s police department from using any resources to impose criminal penalties on those aged 21 or older, the provisions of the initiative specify that enforcing the laws against the possession of psilocybin mushrooms would be the city’s “lowest law enforcement priority.”
Decriminalize Denver, the group that spearheaded the ballot initiative, disputed the DEA’s claim that the drug did not have a medical use. According to the organisation, psilocybin mushrooms are effective in reducing anxiety and depression and help treat addictions to opioids and alcohol, as well as relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).