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Denver Voters Approve Measure To Decriminalize Psilocybin Mushrooms

It is official - Denver will become the first city in the United States to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. This announcement is based on Wednesday's results of the ballot initiative, Denver Initiated Ordinance 301, which called for the city of Denver to end the imposition of criminal penalties for individuals the age of 21 and older who are found using or possessing psilocybin.

On Thursday May 16, the Denver Elections Divisions will certify results of the initiative, but the final count on its website as of Wednesday May 8 was 50.56% of voters in favor and 49.44% against. Winner by a hair, so to speak.

If the initiative is given final approved, psilocybin will unfortunately still be classified as an illegal substance under both Colorado state and US federal laws. The DEA's classification of the psilocybin will remain Schedule 1, meaning it will still be regarded as "having a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical application," but this is a momentous occasion nonetheless as it brings us, as a nation, one step closer to total re-classification.

Decriminalize Denver, the group responsible for getting Tuesday’s ballot question on the poll, strongly advocates the wide range of medical benefits that psilocybin research continues to unveil. Such benefits include, but are not limited to, combating depression and anxiety, aiding with substance addictions, alleviating symptoms of treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bringing comfort to terminal patients who are facing the end of life.

Most of those who opposed the initiative believe that passing it would increase the city’s image as a "haven for drugs." Even Denver District Attorney Beth McCann opposed the initiative, although she is in support of forming a review panel under the initiative to study the effects more closely once the initiative results become certified on the 19th.


Carhart-Harris, R. L. & Goodwin, G. M. The Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelic Drugs: Past, Present and Future. Neuropsychopharmacology, 10.1038/npp.2017.84 (2017). [PMC free article]

Watts, R. D., Krzanowski, C, Nutt, J. D. & Carhart-Harris, R, L. Patients’ accounts of increased ‘connection’ and ‘acceptance’ after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Journal of Humanistic Psychology (2017).

Barnby, Joseph M, and Mitul A Mehta. “Psilocybin and Mental Health-Don't Lose Control.” Frontiers in psychiatry vol. 9 293. 3 Jul. 2018, doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00293

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