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Denver Becomes First US City to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms

'Our victory here is a clear signal to the rest of the country'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2019 3:01 AM CDT
An election judge, left, leads a voter to a machine to cast a ballot at the Denver Elections Division Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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(Newser) – Bring on the "Mile High City" jokes: Denver's elections division says voters have narrowly approved the decriminalization of hallucinogenic "magic" mushrooms. Authorities say that according to unofficial final results, Initiated Ordinance 301—also known as the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative—was approved by 50.5% to 49.4%, a margin of around 2,000 votes, CNN reports. The results will be certified next week after overseas and military ballots are counted. The measure doesn't legalize the mushrooms but says police should "deprioritize, to the greatest extent possible" penalties for the use or possession of psilocybin among people over 21, the Denver Channel reports.

The measure also prevents city funds from being used to pursue criminal penalties for use and possession of psilocybin. Denver is the first US city to decriminalize the mushrooms, which campaigners say can help people with conditions including PTSD and OCD. "Our victory here is a clear signal to the rest of the country that we’re ready for a broader conversation around psilocybin and its potential benefits," I-201 campaign leader Kevin Matthews tells the Denver Post. Decriminalization opponent Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, tells the Post he was "stunned" by how the vote turned out after "No" had a strong early lead. "We'll continue to fight the growing drug culture," he says. (Read more psilocybin mushrooms stories.)

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