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Denver votes to decriminalise magic mushrooms by razor-thin margin

09 May 2019

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. Legendary rock bands like the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers Band frequently used images of mushrooms in their logos, T-shirts and other paraphernalia.

A California effort to decriminalize the use, possession, growth, sale and transportation of psilocybin failed to qualify for the statewide ballot in 2018.

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.

Voters on Tuesday were deciding whether to make Denver the first US city to decriminalize psilocybin - the psychoactive substance in "magic mushrooms" - and add a new chapter to the city's role in shaping wider drug policy.

Voters could make Denver the first USA city to decriminalize the use of psilocybin - the psychoactive substance in "magic mushrooms".

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The citizen-led initiative sought to make Denver the first US city where use or possession of psilocybin by people 21 and older was the lowest law enforcement priority.

If the initiative passes, the use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms by adults 21 and older would be at the lowest law enforcement priority in Denver. Organizers in OR are trying to gather enough support to put an initiative to a statewide vote next year.

"Humans have used these mushrooms for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight", said the organization Decriminalize Denver, which in January announced it had collected enough signatures to put the measure to a vote.

Psilocybin advocates have been gaining momentum in more places than just Denver.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock opposes the initiative along with District Attorney Beth McCann, but there has been no organized campaign against decriminalization.

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"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.

If passed, the ordinance wouldn't legalize mushrooms - but instead would "prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties" for possession, according to the text.

Matthews said psilocybin has been shown to help reduce dependence on opioids.

For Matthews, psilocybin's low potential for abuse and its many reported medical benefits make any criminal sanctions on its use inappropriate.

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Denver votes to decriminalise magic mushrooms by razor-thin margin