Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Denver voters seem to reject initiative seeking to decriminalize "magic mushrooms"

Matryoshka-516281_19202As reported in this article, headlined "Denver Measure to Decrim Magic Mushrooms Trailing in Returns," it appears that voters in the Mil High City are not quite ready to pioneer a new front in the drug reform movement.  Here are the basics:

A Denver initiative that would have made it the first city in the country to decriminalize hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms was trailing in the polls as early results were announced Tuesday night. The measure was losing, 54% to 45%, in early election returns on Tuesday night. As of 8:30 p.m., Initiative 301 was down by 54% to 45%, a margin of more than 8,600 votes.

The measure would have decriminalized possession and use of the drug — which remains classified as a Schedule I substance by the U.S. government — within city limits, which advocates said would have opened up the potential health benefits of hallucinogenics.

Research from Johns Hopkins University found that psilocybin showed benefits for depression and anxiety; other research has shown that it showed benefits for addiction, cluster headaches and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kevin Matthews, a stay-at-home dad and campaign manager for Decriminalize Denver, the campaign for Initiative 301, spoke to supporters just after results poured in and offered an optimistic message. “This is not over yet,” he said. “We all know that this goes way beyond Denver,” he added. “Right now this thing is a coast-to-coast movement.”...

Attention will now turn to other progressive cities. Advocates in Oakland, CA, are working on their own psychedelic decriminalization ballot measure, and a campaign in Oregon seeks to put a magic mushroom measure before voters in the 2020 election.

Supporters were hopeful that Denver, which became the first city to decriminalize cannabis in 2005, could be the standard bearer for hallucinogenic legalization as well. The 2005 vote eventually led to the state legalizing recreational marijuana seven years later, setting off a wave of legalization across the country.

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