Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Denver first US city to decriminalise magic mushrooms

Denver first US city to decriminalise magic mushrooms

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Stropharia Cubensis mushrooms. Denver on Wednesday became the first US city to decriminalise psychedelic mushrooms. EVERT-JAN DANIELS/ANP/AFP

Denver first US city to decriminalise magic mushrooms

DENVER on Wednesday became the first US city to decriminalise psychedelic mushrooms, as voters approved a ballot initiative by a razor thin margin.

The new ordinance loosens restrictions on the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “magic mushrooms,” by people over the age of 21.

The new law, however, does not make it legal to buy, sell or possess the drug. It instructs police officers to treat psilocybin users as their lowest priority.

Although the measure earlier appeared headed for defeat, by late afternoon on Wednesday the numbers showed a reversal of fortune with Initiative 301 set to pass with nearly 50.6 percent of the vote.

“It’s been one hell of a 21 and a half hours,” Kevin Matthews who led the decriminalisation campaign, told the Denver Post after the vote results were announced.

“If these results hold, this is an example of the absurd comedy of the great metaphor. Against all odds, we prevailed. This is what happens when a small team of dedicated and passionate people unite under a single idea to create change.”

Officials said the vote would be certified on May 16 once all military and overseas ballots have been counted.

Proponents of the new law point to studies that say psilocybin is not considered addictive and could be used against depression or opioid addiction, which causes thousands of deaths in the US each year.

“Humans have used these mushrooms for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight,” said the organisation Decriminalize Denver, headed by Matthews, which in January announced it had collected enough signatures to put the measure to a vote.

Adoption of the new law once again puts Colorado at the forefront of US drug legalisation after it became one of the first two states to legalise marijuana in 2012.

“Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world. The truth is we have no idea what the long-term health effects of these drugs are going to do to the people of Colorado,” Jeff Hunt, an official at Colorado Christian University, said on CNN after the referendum on mushrooms was announced.

Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in 10 US states, including California, while more than half of the 50 states allow its use for medical purposes.

Last year, a similar measure to decriminalise psilocybin mushrooms in California failed to gain enough signatures for inclusion on the ballot.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sihanoukville to begin road project

    The government will spend $200 million to improve Sihanoukville’s infrastructure. The eight-month project will involve the rebuilding of 34 streets with a total of more than 84km. Pal Chandara, the secretary of state and spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told The Post

  • Artefact is seized from American auctioneers

    Cambodian and US archaeologists on Thursday discussed the formalities and procedures of returning to Cambodia an artefact which was recently seized by US Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) from an auction house in San Francisco. On Monday, the HSI said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),

  • Bodhisattva statue unearthed

    The Apsara National Authority technical team uncovered a sandstone statue of a Bodhisattva while carrying out excavation work at the east entrance of the Ta Nei temple on October 8. The team was trying to find the temple’s roof stone, which had fallen into a

  • More charges as Rainsy allies warned against backing plot

    More than 20 people have been either arrested or charged with “plotting” since Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), announced his return to the Kingdom next month. The majority of the arrests have come after September 20, when the