Far Out: Denver Decriminalizes Psychedelic Mushrooms

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Denver is the first city in the United States to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. It became official after a vote on May 10.


The initiative to decriminalize psilocybin, a substance commonly called “magic mushrooms,” was led by an organization called Decriminalize Denver. Initiative 301, as the bill is called, instructs law enforcement in Denver to schedule mushrooms as its lowest priority.

The initiative narrowly passed, with 89,320 voting in favor and 87,341 voting against. The results will be certified on May 16, according to the Denver Post. The measure decriminalizes the possession of use for those 21 years old and older. It does not, however, authorize the sale of mushrooms by marijuana businesses in the city.

Kevin Matthews, the campaign manager for Initiative 301, told the Denver Post that the results show what happens when people unite under a single idea to create change. According to Decriminalize Denver’s official website, psilocybin is a compound used by humans for thousands of years for healing, spiritual insight, and other purposes.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” designation, meaning psilocybin was given a faster pathway to approval for drugs that display treatment advantages over current options for serious or life-threatening conditions.

In 2017, a study at Imperial College London found that patients with treatment-resistant depression saw improvements for up to five weeks after taking psilocybin. The drug was also tested by COMPASS Pathways, and is now on the fast track to becoming an approved treatment for those suffering from depression.

The passing of Initiative 301 has received some pushback. Jeff Hunt, the director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, is a vocal opponent of the measure. Hunt told the Denver Post that Denver is becoming the illicit drug capital of the world, and that he will continue to fight the growing drug culture.

Hunt also said that he was stunned by a 7,000-vote swing overnight, and had questioned on twitter if vote tampering could have been at play.

Matthews told the Denver Post that he is looking forward to creating a positive relationship with Denver officials, and that Decriminalizing Denver has the resources to educate the Denver Police Department and the Justice Department to implement the law in a way that is fair.

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Mike Ursery

Mike Ursery is a liberty loving sports writer, contributor to Think Liberty, and host of the podcast Political Circus

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