The federal government classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug
Voters on Tuesday could make Denver the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin — the psychoactive substance in “magic mushrooms” — and add a new chapter to the city’s role in shaping wider drug policy.
A citizen initiative on the ballot has followed the same tack taken by marijuana activists to decriminalize pot possession in 2005 in the city. The move was followed by statewide legalization in 2012. A number of other states followed and broadly allow marijuana use and sales by adults.
Psilocybin campaign organizers say their only goal is to keep people out of jail for using or possessing the drug to cope with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and other conditions.
Kevin Matthews, director of the Decriminalize Denver campaign, said psilocybin has helped him deal with depression for years.
“This is not something you have to take every day,” the 33-year-old Denver native said. “It provides a lot of lasting benefits, weeks and months after one experience.”
Psilocybin has been outlawed in the U.S. since the 1960s, and some researchers warn that it should only be used under medical supervision and can prompt paranoia and anxiety.
The federal government classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, with no medical purpose and a high potential for abuse.
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