Denver 'magic mushroom' initiative is losing

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Decriminalize Denver, the group behind the ballot question, said psilocybin has a wide range of medical benefits.

If approved, Initiative 301 - which is on Tuesday's ballot in Denver - would not make psilocybin mushrooms fully legal in that city, but would decriminalize them.

"No person should face severe criminal penalties for possessing a mushroom", says Kevin Matthews, campaign manager for the Denver Psilocybin Initiative, the official campaign for Initiative 301.

'Quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world...' But small research studies have suggested it can help treat anxiety and depression in, for example, cancer patients.

Marijuana is also classified federally as illegal, but that didn't stop Colorado from approving recreational marijuana use in 2012. The FDA describes breakthrough therapy as created to expedite development of a drug after preliminary evidence shows "the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy".

If passed, the ballot initiative would prohibit the city from imposing criminal penalties on people at least 21 years old who use the drug or have it in their possession.

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The federal government argues that psilocybin - and all Schedule I classification drugs - have high abuse potential and no accepted medical value. A number of other states have since broadly allowed marijuana sales and use by adults.

Tyler Williams, a financial planner, enlisted a friend to take his photo outside a Denver polling place before he voted 'yes.' Williams worked on the campaign's initial attempts to get on the ballot, motivated by what he called a positive experience using psilocybin to manage severe depression.

Proponents 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 USA each year. For both proponents and opponents of psilocybin, that's most basic and would possibly maybe merely both design a case for additional decriminalization efforts or sound the fright in opposition to more permissive authorized guidelines. Organizers in OR, meanwhile, are trying to gain enough support to put an initiative to a statewide vote next year.

If passed, the initiative also includes a requirement for the city to establish a "policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance".

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock opposes the initiative along with District Attorney Beth McCann, but there has been no organized campaign against decriminalization.

"Nobody should be penalized for this substance", Matthews said.

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