2019 Denver ballot initiatives: Magic mushrooms, minimum wages, urban camping, the Olympics and the internet

You can make laws if enough people agree with you.
2 min. read
Tents are pitched on the street in defiance of the city’s urban camping ban and a sizable blizzard. Dec. 17, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

If you like civic engagement, you should love ballot measures. It turns out you can make laws if enough people agree with you.

Here's what residents plan to have on the city ballot for May 2019 -- except for one measure, which will appear on a ballot later in the year.

?️ On the ballot

Repealing the urban camping ban

The Denver Right to Survive Initiative would repeal the urban camping ban. The law currently keeps people (usually without homes) from sleeping under shelter in public, even if just with a blanket. The initiative made the ballot already.

Legalizing mushrooms -- the psychedelic kind

This is not a hallucination. The Psilocybin Initiative would decriminalize magic mushrooms, or psilocybin for you scientists.

? In flux

Blocking public money for the Olympics

The Let Denver Vote Initiative would... let Denver vote on whether the city should spend money to host the Games. The vote would get triggered only if politicians decide to spend public resources or incentives on the Olympics. You might say organizers are playing defense. You might.

The initiative did not gather enough valid signatures to make the May ballot. However, the initiative will appear on the November general election ballot, or the June ballot -- if there is one -- in the case of a runoff election for mayor.

✍️ Still collecting signatures

Internet independence

The Denver Internet Initiative would give Denver the right to create its own internet infrastructure. That ability was taken away by a 2005 Colorado law that leaves big things like fiber-optic cables to big telecommunications corporations. Supporters of the measure, who are still collecting signatures, believe relying solely on profit-seeking companies for internet risks Denver's ability to provide the critical service for its residents in the future. Organizers are still collecting signatures.

⛔️ Withdrawn

Higher wages for airport workers

The Denver Airport Minimum Wage Initiative, which would make $15 the base hourly pay for DIA workers, made the ballot. It was withdrawn, though, because the Hancock administration and the Denver City Council will soon pass a $15 minimum wage for city workers and some contractors.

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