UPDATED: What Does the Failure [or Success!] of Denver’s Psilocybin Initiative Mean for the Future of Pharmacological Freedom?


Yesterday Denver voters narrowly rejected a ballot initiative that would have made arrests for possession of psilocybin mushrooms by adults 21 or older the city’s
“lowest law enforcement priority” and prohibited the use of “city funds or resources” for that purpose. While 48 percent of voters thought that was a good idea, 52 percent disagreed. [Update: It now looks like the measure passed by about 2,000 votes.]

The practical consequences of passing Initiated Ordinance 301 would have been pretty modest. According to Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, who opposed the initiative, just 11 psilocybin cases (out of about 50 arrests) were referred to her office for possible prosecution during the last three years, and charges were filed in just three cases. All of those cases involved manufacture or distribution, which would not have been covered by the initiative. By comparison, Denver police arrested more than

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