Voters in Colorado have made their voices heard on another drug issue: Decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. Denver voters showed up at the polls yesterday to narrowly Initiative 301, making the Mile High City the first in the US to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. Despite late reports that the ballot initiative was losing on Tuesday night, the measure passed with 50.6 percent of the vote, according to the Denver Post. The total was now, standing at 89,320 votes in favor and 87,341 against, a margin of 1,979.
As reported earlier this week, vote makes "magic mushrooms" the city's "lowest law enforcement priority" and "prohibits the city government from using any resources to impose criminal penalties against adults over 21 years of age for personal use and possession of psilocybin." In other words, city cops in Denver no longer have a reason to bust you for that mushroom stash in your corduroy patchwork backpack before an STS9 show.
The success of the ballot measure is one step in wider legalization efforts for psychedelics, which are gaining public favor as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma, especially with combat veterans. For example, activists in California recently took the first steps on a ballot measure to decriminalize psilocybin statewide. The next step is collecting 600,000 voters' signatures in order to qualify it for the 2020 ballot. A similar proposed proposed ballot initiative is underway in Oregon.
Psilocybin mushrooms are reportedly the third safest drug. However, all drugs can still be harmful under certain circumstances. It has also been found that mushrooms were the drug with the lowest rate of emergency room visits after use, lower than alcohol, and even marijuana. The biggest risk to organs of magic mushrooms is eating a poisonous mushroom that isn't actually a psilocybin mushroom. There is a question around whether long term frequent use, for example in weekly microdosing, could have cardiac effects, and more information is needed.
Mushrooms temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure. Magic mushrooms have been consumed by millions of Americans, but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed to be safe. In research settings, mushrooms are given with medical staff present, who are able to give blood pressure medications if blood pressure rises. Mushrooms are a drug with intense effects and should be treated as such.
And as marijuana legalization becomes more widespread across the United States, the results of the vote in Denver is a big step legal step forward for psychedelics and general drug reform, especially when it comes to local law enforcement.