DENVER — It is another first for the city of Denver: on Tuesday, voters in Colorado’s capital city approved the decriminalization of psychedelic mushrooms.
“This victory in Denver today is a clear signal for the rest of the country that Americans are ready to start talking about psilocybin mushrooms,” said Kevin Matthews, a lead organizer of the campaign.
— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) May 9, 2019
The question now is: what’s next?
“Mayor Hancock respects the decision of the voters and the Denver Police Department will enforce the law accordingly,” said Theresa Marchetta, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.
Sgt. John White told FOX31 Denver Thursday the passage does not mean mushroom dispensaries will now be allowed in the city.
“This initiated ordinance would basically say, ‘The city and county of Denver has to make the possession of psilocybin mushrooms one of the city’s lowest priorities,'” White said.
White said in a typical year, around 50 people are arrested on mushroom possession.
Meetings are now taking place within the city to discuss guidelines that will be given to police officers. The ordinance is set to go in effect May 16.
Opponents of the measure expressed disappointment Thursday.
“There is a sense of sadness,” said Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute. The institute is a conservative think tank based at Colorado Christian University.
Hunt fears Colorado is heading down the wrong track. The General Assembly recently approved a bill to no longer make it a felony to possess small amounts of illegal drugs.
Hunt worries someone using mushrooms will drive.
“This was a town to be proud of. Now, we are a town embracing illicit drugs,” Hunt said.
However, supporters of mushrooms say the fungus is not heroin.
“It helped with my depression and my anxiety,” said Melanie Rose, who uses mushrooms.
Under the ordinance, supporters say users will be able to grow the mushrooms on their own but not distribute them to others.