Update: The Denver Elections Division announced on Friday, February 1st, that they have enough signatures to go forward with the ballot initiative in May.
Denver could become the first U.S. city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms after a petition gained enough signatures to take the issue to voters.
On Monday, the advocacy group Decriminalize Denver delivered the 9,500-signature petition to election officials, who have 25 days to verify the legitimacy of the signatures – only 4,726 signatures need to be valid – before allowing voters to decide to decriminalize “magic mushrooms” on a May ballot.
“We want people kept out of prison, families kept together,” Decriminalize Denver campaign director Kevin Matthews said (via CNN). “That was the main motivation for this.”
Unlike decriminalized marijuana – which is legal and available to purchase in Colorado – the use and sale of psychedelic mushrooms would remain prohibited if the measure passes; however, possession of drug in Denver will “become lowest law-enforcement priority and [bar] the use of city resources to impose penalties,” the Denver Post reported.
Although activists have championed psilocybin usage to help psychological stress and opioid addiction, on a federal level, the mushrooms are classified in the same Schedule I category of drugs as heroin and LSD.
While Denver could be the first city to decriminalize magic mushrooms, the state of Oregon could soon follow thanks to a statewide ballot measure in 2020 that would allow the use of mushrooms for people with medical needs.