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Denver Votes To Decriminalize 'Magic Mushrooms'

May 9, 2019 3:31 pm
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Denver Votes To Decriminalize 'Magic Mushrooms'

In an unprecedented move, Denver will become the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms. 

What Happened

For the past month, people in Denver have been voting on the Initiative 301, which deprioritizes the imposition of criminal penalties on the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms among people over 21 years of age to the greatest extent possible. 

The initiative also bans the city and county of Denver from spending resources on pursuing charges against people for the personal use of these mushrooms. 

It passed by a narrow margin of 1,979 votes, with 89,320 people or 50.56 percent voting in favor.

Why It's Important

Initiative 301 doesn't make psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, legal. At the same time, the distribution and sale of mushrooms remains highly illegal and can still be pursued by police.

The possession of magic mushrooms is not a major issue in Denver, with no more than 59 people arrested each year over the past three years and only 11 cases that were prosecuted, according to The New York Times

Supporters of the measure say that the decriminalization of magic mushrooms allows law enforcement to pursue more important offenses. 

In addition, supporters say that psilocybin is a safe and non-addictive substance. Moreover, there is ongoing research underway on whether it has therapeutic properties in certain illnesses such as anxiety and depression. 

On the other hand, critics suggest that the decriminalization could increase drug use. There are also risks that psilocybin could lead to psychologically damaging experiences. 

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Public domain photo via Wikimedia

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