Denver, CO – The Denver Elections Division announced Friday that proponents of the decriminalization of “magic mushrooms” had collected enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.
“The Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures and the question will be placed on the May 7, 2019 Municipal Election ballot,” Denver Elections Division Spokesman Joe Szuszwalak said in a statement released on Feb. 1.
Psilocybin mushrooms are illegal under federal law, but so was marijuana before Colorado legalized it for recreational use, according to KDVR.
The proposed “Denver Psilocybin Initiative” would decriminalize the personal use, possession, and growing of magic mushrooms for adults 21 and older.
The proposed law would also “prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties” for personal use, possession, and propagation, and make the psychedelic drug one of the “city’s lowest law-enforcement priority,” KDVR reported.
The initiative would create the “psiloycbin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance,” similar to a panel that was put in place when marijuana was first decriminalized.
The decriminalization of magic mushrooms measure was initially proposed in Denver during the 2018 election year, but it failed to garner enough support to make the ballot.
But in January, the group behind the initiative turned in more than 9,000 signatures to the Denver County Board of Elections, KMGH reported.
The initiative only needed 4,726 signatures in order to be validated and qualify for the upcoming May 7 municipal ballot.
Supporters of magic mushrooms have said they can be used to treat depression and also have pain-relieving qualities, according to KMGH.
Proponents have pointed to safety studies and argue that the psychedelic fungi can be used to reduce opioid use and reduce stress, according to the Denver Post.
Psilocybin mushrooms are considering a Schedule 1 drug, meaning they are considered to have no medicinal value, but some scientists have recently conceded that psychedelics can produce some positive results, Business Insider reported.
Johns Hopkins University researchers published an article in Neuropharmacology in 2018 that said psilocybin should be categorized as a Schedule IV drug, along the same lines as sleep aids.
It would take a minimum of five years for the Food and Drug Administration to test and make a determination on the reclassification, according to Business Insider.
An effort to legalize magic mushrooms has also been underway in Oregon, where they’re moving toward actual legalization versus decriminalization, Business Insider reported.
The Oregon secretary of state approved language for a ballot measure that would legalize psilocybin mushrooms as soon as 2020.
The initiative, if passed, would allow the hallucinogenic fungi to be manufactured for medical use under a license, Business Insider reported.