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US city Denver holds referendum on magic mushrooms

09 May 2019

Although recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, the mushroom referendum affected only Denver. The US Department of Justice lists psilocybin as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning official federal policy states the fungi have no medicinal properties.

The measure would make the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms by those 21 years of age or older Denver's "lowest law-enforcement priority", according to the measure's language.

For instance, a 2017 study published in the journal Nature showed that 47% of patients experiencing treatment-resistant depression showed positive responses at five weeks after receiving a psilocybin treatments.

Magic mushrooms have been used in religious practices for decades due to their powerful effect on perceptions and spiritual experiences. In 2005, the city became the first major city in the USA to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

Denver decriminalised marijuana in 2005 ahead of the rest of Colorado state. It does not legalize psilocybin or permit its sale by cannabis businesses. Users have described seeing vivid colours and geometric patterns, and experiencing powerful spiritual connections and emotions. But there is nearly no organized opposition to the pro-psilocybin campaign, Decriminalize Denver. The effects also appealed to recreational users, whose 1960s "hippie" culture continues to dog researchers seeking funding for medical work on psilocybin and other substances. For both proponents and opponents of psilocybin, that's most basic and would possibly maybe merely both design a case for additional decriminalization efforts or sound the fright in opposition to more permissive authorized guidelines. Organizers in OR, meanwhile, are trying to gain enough support to put an initiative to a statewide vote next year. The proposal adds that it would "prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties" on people possessing the mushrooms.

The Denver Psilocybin Initiative raised about $45,000 in support of the campaign, advertising mostly on social media and posters around Denver, and it gathered more than 9,000 signatures to get Initiative 301 on the ballot.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and District Attorney Beth McCann opposed the initiative, but there was no organized campaign against decriminalization. The district attorney McCann's spokesperson said that McCann opposes the initiative partly because the city is still trying to understand the effects of legalizing marijuana. "One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits".

US city Denver holds referendum on magic mushrooms