Denver Voters Approve Measure to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

Tom Angell, writing for Forbes:

Voters in Denver, Colorado made their city the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms by approving a ballot measure on the issue on Tuesday.

The measure, which was behind in early returns on election night but edged closer with each new batch of ballots counted, ended up pulling ahead with a 51 percent to 49 percent margin in the final unofficial results posted on Wednesday afternoon.

Its provisions prohibit the city government from using any resources to impose criminal penalties against adults over 21 years of age for personal use and possession of psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called "magic mushrooms."

Initiative 301 also specifies that going after people for the mushrooms is the city's “lowest law enforcement priority” and establishes a review panel to assess and report on the effects of the change by early 2021.

This was a thrilling race to follow. All throughout yesterday news outlets were running stories saying that the measure had been defeated, but that was with ~40k votes still remaining to be tallied.

Even though the vote occurred on Tuesday, the last votes weren’t counted until 5PM (Mountain Time) on Wednesday, at which point it was announced that the measure had in fact passed after all—by a thin margin of ~2000 votes.

The Denver Elections Division still needs to verify the final tally, so the official approval of this measure won’t be granted until May 16th. Assuming it goes off without a hitch, Denver will become the first city in the nation to have decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms via ballot initiative. However, it technically won’t be the first place in America where psychedelic fungi are decriminalized—courts in New Mexico and Louisiana previously ruled in favor of allowing the cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms. Up next are Oregon and California, where there are movements hoping to pass their own psilocybin policy reform ballot measures next year.

Regardless of who was first and who will be next, Denver residents should soon be able to possess, use, and grow psilocybin mushrooms without any fear of being criminally charged. This victory is a huge step forward in the fight to reform laws concerning psychedelic drugs and it should be celebrated (in proper fashion, hopefully) by psychonauts everywhere.