As reported by The Denver Post, an initiative in Denver to decriminalize magic mushrooms narrowly passed yesterday, with 50.6 percent of the vote. This would make Denver the first city in the United States where possessing and use of the psychedelic drug is not a criminal offense.
Though magic mushrooms are still illegal in Denver, law enforcement will now consider possession of magic mushrooms their lowest priority, and are not allowed to use city resources or funds to press criminal penalties. The law is known as Ordinance 301.
According to Kevin Matthews, the campaign manager for Ordinance 301, the vote showed the public’s interest in the health benefits of psilocybin.
“Our victory here is a clear signal to the rest of the country that we’re ready for a broader conversation around psilocybin and its potential benefits.”
Campaigners and even some researchers have extolled magic mushrooms for their possible health benefits. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration even designated psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” after promising results using the drug to treat medication-resistant depression.
According to Wired, it has also been shown to potentially help those affected with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, cluster headaches, and anxiety, among other ailments.
However, not everyone is happy with the results. Jeff Hunt, Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University and Director the Centennial Institute, said that the use of magic mushrooms was a “serious problem.”
“Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world,” he added. Hunt is worried that the next move for magic mushroom activists will be legalization, per CBS News.
“The psychedelic mushroom folks are following the same playbook that marijuana did. They’re starting with decriminalization and then they’re going to move on to commercialization.”
As reported by The Denver Post, Hunt believes that marijuana legalization has not been good for the city, and worries that the decriminalization of magic mushrooms will only aggravate the problem.
“Marijuana has brought more problems than it’s solved to our city and our state, and if we continue to go down this track, we’re going to continue to see Colorado get in worse and worse shape.”
Denver is not the only place to consider the benefits of the psychedelic drug. Oregon may have a vote in 2020 that puts mushroom legalization on the ballot.
In addition, a group of seven Canadian health care professionals have joined together to create a group called TheraPsil. The group will both challenge the criminality of magic mushrooms and petition Health Canada, the department for Canada’s national public health, to allow doctors to give psilocybin to terminally ill patients.