Denver Becomes First City In US To Decriminalise Magic Mushrooms

by : Emily Brown on : 09 May 2019 09:28
Magic MushroomsMushroom Observer/Wikimedia/PA

Denver in the US state of Colorado has become the first city in the country to decriminalise magic mushrooms. 

The initiative to decriminalise the drug was led by Decriminalize Denver, an organisation working to remove criminal and civil penalties for the use and possession of psilocybin – aka magic mushrooms.


Voting took place on Tuesday (May 7), and tallies for Initiated Ordinate 301, or the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative, were released on Wednesday.

The results were close, with 50.6 per cent of voters supporting the ordinance, while about 49.4 per cent were against it.

Though the drug is decriminalised, that does not make it legal. Fox News report the measure makes the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms by those 21 years of age and older Denver’s ‘lowest law-enforcement priority’.


It will also prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties on people who use or posses psilocybin mushrooms.


The US Department of Justice lists psilocybin as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same classification as  heroin, meaning official federal policy states the drug has no medicinal properties.

Magic mushrooms are a popular recreational drug, however CNN report a growing body of medical research shows that psilocybin can treat conditions like anxiety and depression.


Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Decriminalize Denver, organized the grassroots effort to decriminalize the drug, claiming it ‘saved his life’.

According to CNN, Matthews had been a cadet at the United States Military Academy when he developed major depression and received a medical discharge.

He explained:


My life had crumbled beneath my feet.

After years of suffering, Matthews’ friends introduced him to psilocybin mushrooms.


He said:


The positive effects lasted weeks and weeks and weeks. I had been feeling pretty isolated and alone and until then, couldn’t see the love all around me.

Following Wednesday’s results, Matthews told the Denver Post that it had been ‘one hell of a 21-and-a-half hours’.

He added:

If these results hold, this is an example of the absurd comedy of the great metaphor. Against all odds, we prevailed.

This is what happens when a small team of dedicated and passionate people unite under a single idea to create change

The results of the initiative will not become official until May 16.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Denver, Drugs, Magic mushrooms


CNN and 3 others
  1. CNN

    Denver becomes the first city to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms

  2. Fox News

    Denver narrowly votes to decriminalize 'magic mushrooms'

  3. Decriminalise Denver

    Denver Psilocybin Initiatvie

  4. Denver Post

    Denver first in U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms