It looks like Denver voters have decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms

Initiative 301 was approved with 50.56 percent of the vote.

Denver Psilocybin Initiative campaign director Kevin Matthews speaks during an event promoting a proposed measure to decriminalize  psychedelic mushrooms on Monday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

Denver Psilocybin Initiative campaign director Kevin Matthews speaks during an event promoting a proposed measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms on Monday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Denver. (Esteban L. Hernandez/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Almost everyone counted Initiative 301 out, but in the final hour, it appears Denver has voted to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.

The no-votes seemed to have had it on election night, but final results released by the Denver Elections Division a little after 4 p.m. Wednesday show the yes-votes ahead by about 2,000.

The results still need to be certified, but right now, I-301 is passing with 50.56 percent of the vote.

Following in the footsteps of marijuana decriminalization in the mid-2000s (and legalization in 2012), possession of magic mushrooms in Denver will now become the lowest possible enforcement priority for police. I-301 wouldn’t make it legal to use magic mushrooms publicly.

I-301 does nothing to change the feds’ classification. Psilocybin mushrooms remain a Schedule 1 substance.

The law decriminalizing possession, use and home cultivation of psychedelic mushrooms would apply only for adults 21 and older in the city and county.

With its passing, Denver becomes the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin. Campaign director for the psilocybin initiative Kevin Matthews said the measure goes into effect immediately upon the mayor’s signing it into the city’s code.

In addition to making enforcement of laws regarding psilocybin mushroom the lowest possible priority, the law would prevent the city from using public funds or resources to prosecute people charged with crimes related to mushroom possession. It also calls for the creation of an 11-member psilocybin review panel to report back on the impact on public health and safety.

Grassroots organizers backing the bill modeled their campaign on  previous marijuana decriminalization efforts. Their hope is this initiative’s passing will be a step toward legalization for medicinal use. Proponents show the mushrooms have been shown to work well in treating depression, PTSD and other ailments.

Jeff Hunt, director of the conservative think tank Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, opposed the measure, calling decriminalizing efforts a step toward “commercializing the drug.” He suggested it would move Denver closer toward becoming “the illicit drug capital of the world.”

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