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Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Voter Initiative to Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms Just Made It Onto The Denver Ballot This May

By: Wes Messamore
The Humble Libertarian

This May, for the first time in American history, voters will decide whether to approve a city ordinance to decriminalize the possession, cultivation (for personal use), and recreational consumption of psychedelic mushrooms in the Mile High City:

The Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative will ask voters in May to approve an ordinance that would make possession of the drug, no matter the weight, legal for those 21 and older. They could also grow it. The proposed law, however, would not legalize retail sales, which have made the city an international darling of the cannabis world.

The city's Elections Division said organizers turned in enough valid signatures to qualify for the May 7 municipal ballot. Kevin Matthews, director of the initiative campaign, said it will be the first time psilocybin decriminalization has come before U.S. voters.

According to federal laws written in the 1970s under the Controlled Substances Act, psilocybin is considered a Schedule I drug, carrying the harshest federal criminal penalties, under a rubric in which Schedule I substances are those with "no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."

But medical science would say that federal law is outdated by decades on both counts, as medical researchers are taking psychedelics seriously for their medicinal value to treat persistent, severe depression, and to make terminally ill patients physically and emotionally more comfortable in their final days.

Psychedelic mushrooms and other psychedelic substances such as MDMA also hold so much promise for treating PTSD, that researchers believe these substances offer hope for the many combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, and suicide rates markedly higher than the general population.

By contrast alcoholic beverages– which have no accepted medical use, are high risk factors in many forms of disease, have a high potential for abuse and addiction, and can even cause depression or worsen it– are not controlled substances under federal law.

Decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms in Denver would follow in the footsteps of California, which first defied federal drug policy with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, legalizing the cultivation and consumption of marijuana and products made from it for medical purposes with a doctor's prescription.

This led to a cascade of marijuana legalization in states and cities throughout the country in a sea change for both drug policy in the United States and the balance of power in the relationship between the states and the U.S. federal government.