On Monday, activists in Denver got one step closer to making drug reform history for the second time. A group called Decriminalize Denver has collected over 8,000 ballot petition signatures in support of a measure that would effectively decriminalize psychedelic mushroom possession and use for adults over the age of 21.
According to the Denver Post, the initiative would make magic mushroom possession “the lowest law-enforcement priority and prevent the city from using resources to impose penalties.”
While Decriminalize Denver has collected enough signatures, the city still needs to verify at least 4,726 of them before the initiative will make it on to the ballot in the May municipal elections. “Given past initiatives’ rate of rejected signatures, though, the psilocybin initiative may be cutting it close,” writes the Denver Post.
The Denver Elections Division now has just shy of a month to approve each signature.
@DecriminalizeDenver (Psilocybin Initiative) has submitted petitions for an Initiated Ordinance. We have 25 days to review the petitions to see if they contain enough valid signatures for the ordinance to appear on the May ballot. pic.twitter.com/VRizVqgO7u— Denver Elections (@DenverElections) January 7, 2019
Denver isn’t the only city pushing for magic mushroom reform, either. In Oregon, activists are proposing a measure for the 2020 ballot that would decriminalize psilocybin statewide for adults who get approval from their doctors and agree to participate in a “psilocybin service” involving at least one session of supervised consumption. In late November 2018, officials certified the ballot title.
Though psilocybin is federally illegal, advocates say that the naturally occurring psychoactive substance can help with a myriad of medicinal issues. In the past decade, there has been a swath of research supporting claims that magic mushrooms can help cancer patients suffering from anxiety and depression, as well as benefit individuals trying to quit smoking cigarettes. There’s even promising evidence that shrooms can help people with opioid addictions and other substance abuse issues.
Will Denver change the course of prohibition once again, similar to the city’s push for cannabis reform in 2012? We’ll know soon. Stay tuned for more updates.