Decriminalising drugs: Denver votes on the future of hallucinogenic mushrooms

UPDATE: Ballots have been counted and Denver has voted in favour of decriminalising hallucinogenic mushrooms, with a minuscule 50.6 percent majority.

Denver, Colorado may become the first US city to decriminalise hallucinogenic mushrooms following a public campaign that gathered enough signatures to put forward the proposal before the May elections.

Hallucinogenics are mind-altering substances which give users illusions of colours and voices. A 2015 paper from the University of Alabama has found that if treated properly “classic psychedelic use is associated with reduced psychological distress and suicidality in the United States adult population.

Denver is the first city to vote on the legal state of magic mushrooms. Following the debate over medical marijuana, this has the potential to open a new door against the government’s crackdown on drugs and illegal substances.

‘Decriminalise Denver’ is the movement pushing for a referendum on psychedelic mushrooms, following California’s failed attempt last year to reach the ballot. If the vote is successful, it will only apply to Denver (not all of Colorado) and will place into city code that personal use or possession of the mushrooms will be of lowest enforcing priority.

Of course, there are always two sides to every debate. Denver District Attorney Beth McCann spoke to The Washington Post saying that she “feared Denver, already becoming a haven for marijuana tourists, would become a preferred destination for drug users of all stripes.”

The campaign is advertising itself as an educational model rather than a recreational one, and if it goes through, it has the potential to pave the way for the future of similar drugs in America and the world.