Monday, May 6, 2019

Psilocybin decriminalization makes Denver ballot

'Magic mushroom' decriminalization on Denver ballot - Associated Press, Dayton Daily News:

May 6, 2019 - "Voters decide this week whether Denver will become the first U.S. city to decriminalize the use of psilocybin, the psychedelic substance in 'magic mushrooms.'

A citizen-led initiative appearing on ballots Tuesday follows a path that led to marijuana's legalization in Denver and later in Colorado. Campaign organizers, though, say their only goal is to prevent people from going to jail for possessing or using mushrooms.

"The federal government still classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, defined as having no medical purpose and a high potential for abuse. The decision stymied research into its medical use for decades but small studies have resumed in recent years.

"Medical researchers have found the substance can help treat anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Those studies were small and closely supervised but the preliminary results gave researchers hope that psychedelic drugs could be used to treat cancer anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder....

"Psilocybin is among the substances described as psychedelics or hallucinogens. Researchers say they have been used in religious practices for decades for their effects on users' perceptions and spiritual experiences....

"Denver's initiative would effectively decriminalize use or possession of psilocybin by people 21 and older, making it the lowest enforcement priority for local police and prosecutors. The proposed ordinance also prevents city funds from being used for criminal penalties on possession or use and creates a panel of officials to study the effects of the change.

"The initiative does not legalize psilocybin or permit its sale by Denver's cannabis businesses.

"The city's mayor and district attorney have publicly opposed the proposal.... But there is almost no organized opposition to the pro-psilocybin campaign, Decriminalize Denver....

"A California effort to decriminalize the use, possession, growth, sale and transportation of psilocybin failed to qualify for the statewide ballot in 2018. Organizers in Oregon are trying to gather enough support to put a similar initiative to a statewide vote in 2020."

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