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In close race, Denver becomes first city in the U.S. to decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms’

Denver will become the first city in the country to decriminalize the use of so-called "magic mushrooms"

DENVER — The city of Denver has become the first city in the country to decriminalize the possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms for adults who are at least 21 years old.

This does not legalize the use of magic mushrooms, but it makes it the least priority for Denver Police.

The mayor's office released a statement about its passage Thursday morning.

“Mayor Hancock respects the decision of the voters and the Denver Police Department will enforce the law accordingly,” the statement reads. 

When the first results were posted by Denver Elections at 7 p.m., Initiative 301 was losing 55% to 45%

Denver updated the results every 90 minutes, stopping at 1 a.m. As we went to bed, it was still losing 52% to 48%.

As of late Tuesday night, Political Analyst Floyd Circuli had projected the race in favor of Initiative 301’s opposition, prompting 9NEWS to call it as a fail.  

Between 1 a.m. and Wednesday afternoon when Denver Elections finished counting another 40,000 votes for 301, the initiative had passed with 50.6%. With 176,661 votes, it passed 89,320 to 87,341. That margin is 1,979.

This is outside the automatic recount margin which is half of one percent.

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If you don't think every vote counts, 8,410 people turned in their ballots without voting on this issue.

The measure will “deprioritize to the greatest extent possible” charging people for taking mushrooms, which are considered a hallucinogenic drug. It also prohibits Denver police from using any resources to prosecute users.

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Supporters have said psilocybin is a medicine and that people should not be jailed for using it.

If caught, a user could have faced a year in prison. With that being said, of the 9.267 drug cases filed by the Denver District Attorney’s Office between 2016 and 2018, only 11 involved psilocybin.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann was just one of Denver's leaders opposed to decriminalizing psilocybin in the city. She said she worried about psilocybin becoming a problem because it’s not much of one now.  

Initiative 301 does not allow for the retail sale of mushrooms in the city. 

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