Denver becomes first US city to decriminalize ‘Magic Mushrooms’
Denver may become the first city in the United States to effectively decriminalize the psychedelic substance in “Magic Mushrooms”.
In a ballot initiative on the issue concerning the hallucinogenic drug, voters in the Colorado capital passed the measure with 50.56 % approval.
Victory against all odds
According to the Associated Press, about 1300 votes remained uncounted. City officials released final election result on May 16. But the final count on its website on Wednesday was 50.56 per cent of voters in favour in comparison to 49.44 per cent against.
Kevin Matthews who led the Decriminalize Denver campaign, said a victory would be ‘against all odds‘.
If the measure does become official, people 21 and over will not be prosecuted for using the drug. But the measure does not go so far as to legalize its usage and sale.
Why is the drug being decriminalized?
The psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms, under US federal law belongs to the same group of banned drugs that includes heroin and LSD.
However, lately decriminalization advocates have claimed that the psychedelic edible substance helps patients with anxiety disorders and depression. Decriminalize Denver stated:
“No-one should go to jail, lose their children, lose their job, and lose their citizen’s rights for using a mushroom. One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits.”
Campaigners who have fought for the drug to be decriminalized have argued that it is wrong for people to end up behind bars after using magic mushrooms to cope with problems like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Will this affect the city’s image?
Some opponents of the campaign worry that if passed, the initiative would further infamize the city’s image as a haven for drugs.
Denver decriminalized marijuana possession in 2005. Seven years later, Colorado followed suit at the state level.
Jeff Hunt, Director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University – an opponent to the effects of the drug on the city’s image – opined on Twitter that votes had been tampered with.
According to the Denver Post, Hunt said
“We’ll continue to fight the growing drug culture. Denver’s becoming the illicit drug capital of the world. The larger issue here is not good for our city.”
Claiming that the Marijuana decriminalization had been damaging for the city, Hunt further said
“Marijuana has brought more problems than it’s solved to our city and our state, and if we continue to go down this track, we’re going to continue to see Colorado get in worse and worse shape.”