Denver Votes to Become First US City to Decriminalize ‘Magic Mushrooms’

May 9, 2019 Updated: May 9, 2019

Denver will become the first city in the United States to decriminalize magic mushrooms, based on final unofficial results on May 8 of a ballot initiative about the hallucinogenic drug.

The initiative called for Colorado’s capital to end the imposition of criminal penalties for individuals at least 21 years of age for using or possessing psilocybin, widely known as magic mushrooms.

The Denver Elections Divisions will certify results on May 16, but the final count on its website on Wednesday was 50.56 percent of voters in favor and 49.44 percent against.

Boxes containing magic mushrooms sit on a counter at a coffee and smart shop in Rotterdam Nov. 28, 2008. (Jerry Lampen (Netherlands)/Reuters)

If the initiative is approved, psilocybin would still remain illegal under both Colorado and federal law. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies the drug as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning the agency has deemed that it has a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical application.

Decriminalize Denver, the group behind Tuesday’s ballot question, said psilocybin had a wide range of medical benefits. It has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and to help in treating tobacco, alcohol and opioid addictions, and with alleviating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the organization.

Some opponents worry that if passed, the initiative would increase the city’s image as a haven for drugs, given that Colorado was one of the first states to legalize possession and sale of marijuana for adult recreational use.

Psilocybin or “magic mushrooms” are seen in an undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Washington, DC on. May 7, 2019. DEA/Handout via Reuters)

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann opposed the initiative. But if the measure were approved, she supported the formation of a review panel under the initiative to study the effects of the drug and the impact the ordinance would have on Denver, spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said.

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.

Prison Guards Find Rodents Stuffed With Drugs

Suspected organized criminals have been stuffing the bodies of dead rats with drugs, phones, and cash and throwing them over the walls of a British prison to get contraband to inmates, the government said on Monday, March 25.

Guards at Guys Marsh prison in Dorset, southwest England, grew suspicious when they found the bodies of three rats with long stitches along their stomachs, officials said.

They discovered the animals had been disemboweled and filled with five mobile phones and chargers, three SIM cards, cigarette papers and a large amount of drugs including cannabis and a synthetic substitute as well as tobacco, they added.

“This find shows the extraordinary lengths to which criminals will go to smuggle drugs into prison, and underlines why our work to improve security is so important,” Britain’s prisons minister, Rory Stewart, said.

The government did not say when the rats were found.

According to the prison service, it is the first time they have found drugs being smuggled this way into British prisons, which have struggled in recent years to cope with rising drug use and violence.

Last year a gang was jailed for smuggling over ($660,000) £500,000 worth of drugs into a prison via drones, which delivered them straight into inmates hands, outstretched through the window bars.

An inspection of the same prison last year noted that drug use was “rife” and that prisoners were able to even deal drugs during lockdown, delivering items tied on the end of bedsheets hung out of the windows and swung from cell to cell.

Seizures of drugs, mobile phones, and SIM cards rose by 23, 15 and 13 percent in the 12 months to March 2018 when just over 20 percent of tests of inmates were positive for drugs, including new psychoactive substances.

Criminals have in the past tried to use tennis balls, pigeons and drones to bring contraband into prisons.

The British prison system has been under close scrutiny in recent years, with a flood of damning reports of individual prisons and the overall service.

The latest Ministry of Justice figures in January showed that assaults on staff and prisoners had increased by 20 percent over a years, reaching record levels.

Last summer, the government had to take over the running of a “squalid” Birmingham prison after inspectors found fearful staff members locking themselves in offices as growing violence among inmates was carried out with “near impunity.”

The Epoch Times Reporter Simon Veazey to Contributed this Report.