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Psychedelic mushroom decriminalization push says it has enough signatures to be on Denver ballot

A campaign aimed at decriminalizing the use of psychedelic mushrooms says it has acquired enough signatures to appear on the Denver municipal ballot in May.

The Denver for Psilocybin campaign told local news outlet NBC 9 that it had collected more than 8,000 total signatures, well above the 4,729 valid signatures needed to make it onto the ballot. The city’s elections office has 25 days to verify the signatures.

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“This is a chance for Denver and Colorado to be an example for the rest of the country,” campaign director Kevin Matthews told the news outlet.

Matthews noted that it is important to distinguish the difference between legalizing and decriminalizing the psychedelic fungus, often referred to as “magic mushrooms.”

The language in the measure is similar to that which was used in 2007 when Denver voted to decriminalize recreational marijuana.

“We’re not talking about a regulatory framework, we’re not talking about a recreational framework at all,” Matthews said.

If passed, the measure would make the use and possession of psilocybin by people 21 years and older the city of Denver’s “lowest law enforcement priority.”

It would also prohibit the city from prosecuting cases related to it.

Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies psychedelic mushrooms as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin and cocaine.

The measure would not change the drug classification, it would only change how Denver views and enforces the substance.

“No one should go to jail for possessing a compound that not only grows naturally but also has proven demonstrated clinical benefits,” Matthews said.

Not only is Matthews an advocate for the decriminalization, he says he also uses of the mushrooms and is vocal about the medical benefits they bring. 

“Mushrooms have really given me a new lease, a new outlook, a new perception on life,” Matthews said. “It’s made the world a better place for me. It’s not something I use very often, but the experiences I have had have been profound and have radically changed me.”

California attempted a similar ballot initiative that failed last year and Oregon is attempting one of its own for next year.