Denver Becomes First City US City To Decriminalise 'Magic Mushrooms'

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Voters have made Denver the first USA city to decriminalize psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in "magic mushrooms".

After trailing in results postings Tuesday night and early Wednesday, final unofficial results just posted show a reversal of fortune - with Initiative 301 set to pass with almost 50.6 percent of the vote.

In January, Decriminalize Denver announced that it collected almost 9,500 signatures, and turned in paperwork with the Denver Elections Division to get the initiative placed on the ballot.

The results will not become official until May 16.

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.

The city is set to establish a "policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance" per the initiative's requirements.

Denver's mayor and top prosecutor opposed the initiative, but there was no organized campaign against decriminalization.

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The vote referred specifically to psilocybin, the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms which under U.S. federal law belongs to the same group of banned drugs as heroin and LSD.

For decades, magic mushrooms have been attractive in certain religious practices due to their powerful hallucinogenic effects, and the substance has since gained mass appeal in terms of recreational use.

And in 2018, researchers from Johns Hopkins University called for removing psilocybin from the list of Schedule I substances.

The language of Initiative 301 prohibits "the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties" for personal use, possession and growth of mushrooms. But recent research has suggested psilocybin could be potentially used to treat anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and alcoholism.

Kevin Matthews, director of the Decriminalize Denver campaign, said psilocybin has helped him deal with depression for years.

"Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world. One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits".