Denver is 1st US City to Decriminalize 'Magic Mushrooms'

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Denver Just Became the First U.S. City to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

The vote in favour effectively decriminalises use or possession of psilocybin by people aged 21 and over, making it the lowest enforcement priority for police and prosecutors.

On Tuesday, Denver, Colorado became the first USA city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms, approving the ballot referendum by a razor-thin margin of 51 to 49 after news agencies originally projected the measure would fail. The federal government says Schedule I drugs have no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse.

For decades, magic mushrooms have been attractive in certain religious practices due to their powerful hallucinogenic effects, and the substance has since gained mass appeal in terms of recreational use. But a growing body of medical research shows that psilocybin can treat conditions like anxiety and depression, in cases where drugs now on the market cannot.

Psilocybin mushrooms are categorized as a federal Schedule I drug.

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Matthews told CNN that he credited mushrooms with "really saving my life".

"My life had crumbled beneath my feet", he said.

"Nobody should be penalized for this substance", Matthews said. "I had been feeling pretty isolated and alone and until then, couldn't see the love all around me".

The initiative received endorsements from the Denver Green Party and the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

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Jeff Hunt, director of the conservative Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, commented ahead of the vote according to CBS Denver: "Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world".

As many as 1,300 votes were yet to be counted, but Denver's Election Division declared that was not enough to swing the vote the other way and that final results would be published next week. He said the ordinance might discourage tourists from coming to the city.

Before the vote Denver's district attorney Beth McCann said that, although she was against the motion, if it passed she would support the formation of a review panel to study the effects of the drug.

The ballot initiative will build on previous efforts regarding drug ordinances.

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Denver residents first voted to decriminalize marijuana possession in 2004, years before Colorado voters ultimately approved its legalization statewide for recreational purposes, establishing a full regulatory framework to license retail outlets and collect sales taxes on cannabis products.

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