As legal marijuana booms, Denver votes on decriminalizing hallucinogenic mushrooms

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If you thought legalized marijuana truly put the “high” in the Mile High City, wait until you hear what Denver is up to now. On Tuesday, residents will vote on whether to effectively decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, the hallucinogen used by some cultures for religious purposes for centuries, and outlawed by the federal government since 1970.

The movement to “Decriminalize Denver” is the nation’s first public referendum on “magic mushrooms,” after an effort in California failed to reach the ballot last year. Initiative 301 would apply only to Denver, not the entire state of Colorado. It would place into city code the directive that enforcing laws for personal use or possession of psilocybin mushrooms “shall be the lowest law enforcement priority in the City and County of Denver,” though having the mushrooms would still technically be illegal. The mushrooms would not be available in the city’s cannabis dispensaries, and sales would still be classified as a felony. They would remain classified a Schedule I drug under federal law, as is marijuana, with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

The image of hallucinogens as chemicals that launch users into a swirling mélange of colors and voices, presumably impairing one’s ability to drive or operate heavy machinery, can be tough to overcome. But supporters say the mushrooms’ powerful mind-altering qualities can have long-term

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