Monday, 20 May, 2019

Denver votes to decriminalise magic mushrooms by razor-thin margin

Magic Mushrooms sit in a fridge Magic Mushrooms sit in a fridge
Gustavo Carr | 09 May, 2019, 22:12

The initiative also calls for the creation of the psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance. The FDA describes breakthrough therapy as created to expedite development of a drug after preliminary evidence shows "the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy". Federally illegal in the US since 1968, psilocybin is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under "Schedule I", along with drugs like heroin, marijuana and LSD.

Boxes containing magic mushrooms sit on a counter at a coffee and smart shop in Rotterdam November 28, 2008.

But researchers warn that psilocybin should only be used under medical supervision and can have negative effects, including anxiety and paranoia. But a growing body of medical research shows that psilocybin can treat conditions like anxiety and depression, in cases where drugs now on the market cannot.

A citizen-led initiative appearing on ballots Tuesday follows the path that led to marijuana's legalization in Denver and later in Colorado.

A study in 2016, found that a hallucinogenic chemical in magic mushrooms shows promise for people with untreatable depression. If passed, Denver will become the first city in the United States to decriminalize the substance.

Participants in recent medical studies using psilocybin have described seeing vivid colors and geometric patterns and experiencing powerful spiritual connections and emotions.

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It asks voters if the personal use and possession of the drug should be the city's "lowest law enforcement priority". It would not legalize psilocybin or permit its sale by Denver's cannabis businesses.

A California effort to decriminalize psilocybin failed to qualify for the statewide ballot in 2018.

The ordinance seeks to downgrade the penalties and deprioritize prosecution for those who are in the possession or use psilocybin mushrooms. Organizers in OR are trying to gather enough support to put an initiative to a statewide vote next year. There has been little organized opposition.

Organisers collected more than 8,000 signatures to get on the ballot, the third time they had attempted to put the proposal up for a vote.

Proponents point to studies that say psilocybin is not considered addictive and could be used against depression or opioid addiction, which causes thousands of deaths in the USA each year.

Beth McCann, Denver's district attorney, and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, both Democrats, are among the opponents of Initiative 301.