Denver could become the first US city to decriminalize magic mushrooms

Posted at 2:18 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 14:18:04-05

The Mile High City might be getting a whole lot higher.

An advocacy group has collected nearly 9,500 signatures to get a measure on the ballot in May that would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in Denver.

While the Denver Elections Division has yet to verify the signatures, the issue is sure to sprout some debate.

“We want people kept out of prison, families kept together,” said Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Decriminalize Denver. “That was the main motivation for this.”

It’s important to note that the measure would not legalize the use or sale of magic mushrooms in Colorado’s capital but instead would treat possession of the drug as the lowest law enforcement priority.

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Under federal law psychedelic mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I drug, the same as heroin or LSD. This means they have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

The Denver Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Matthews says he wants to educate people on the effects of magic mushrooms and remove misunderstanding around their use and purpose.

The group claims psilocybin, a naturally occurring fungi, can reduce psychological stress, reduce opioid use and remain non-addictive.

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“We believe that no one should be criminalized for possessing a harmless substance,” he said.

The Denver Chamber of Commerce has not yet taken a position on the issue.

A similar effort to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms is underway in Oregon, where advocates are trying to get the issue on the ballot for the 2020 election.