Denver led the charge when it came to legalizing marijuana, but it doesn’t appear ready to blaze trails on other hallucinogens. While some votes are still being counted, voters in the city apparently opted not to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms (aka “magic mushrooms”) in a vote yesterday.
As of 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, only 48.3% of voters were in favor of the measure, which needed at least 51% to pass. However, notes the Denver Post, “many ballots” from areas that skew younger were not yet counted.
It’s important to note the bill would not have legalized mushrooms, as the 2012 marijuana vote did, but would have largely prevented law enforcement officials from arresting or prosecuting people who had the fungi in their possession for personal use.
Possession of the mushrooms can result in one year in prison and a large fine.
Psilocybin mushrooms, like THC in marijuana, have hallucinogenic effects and can send users into an altered state for up to six hours. Effects vary by person, but many researchers say they (like marijuana) can have some medicinal uses, helping people make major changes (such as quitting smoking or overcoming bouts of depression) when used in a controlled setting. Proponents say the mushrooms are safer than marijuana or alcohol, but critics (who included Denver’s mayor and district attorney Beth McCann) argued the vote was a step towards full legalization.
It’s a blow for proponents of the drug and its potential medical benefits, but this isn’t the end of the road. Oregon, where weed is also legal, will have a measure on its statewide ballot in 2020, allowing the drug to be used at licensed facilities.
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