In a stunning turn of events, Denver has voted to become the first U.S. city to decriminalize shrooms.
The ballot measure was projected to fail Tuesday night with "no" votes holding a solid lead in early returns; but on Wednesday afternoon, the final unofficial results showed that the he initiative had passed by a narrow 1.12 percent margin, with 89,320 votes in favor of Initiative 301 and 87,341 were against it.
It's important to note that these numbers remain unofficial, as the Denver Elections Division will continue to collect military and overseas ballots; however, the Denver Post points out that these votes rarely make a difference because there are typically arrive in small numbers. The results will be certified on May 16.
Initiative 301, led by Decriminalize Denver, will effectively decriminalize the use or possession of psychedelic mushrooms by people 21 and older. Though it doesn't legalize the psilocybin, which is illegal on both state and federal levels, the measure prohibits Denver from using resources to impose criminal penalties against adults who are caught with psilocybin—the active hallucinogenic chemical found in magic mushrooms.
"It’s been one hell of a 21-and-a-half hours," Initiative 301 campaign manager Kevin Matthews told the Post. "If these results hold, this is an example of the absurd comedy of the great metaphor. Against all odds, we prevailed. This is what happens when a small team of dedicated and passionate people unite under a single idea to create change."
Those in favor of psilocybin decriminalization argue that hallucinogen has been used for thousands of years, and may be beneficial to those who suffer from substance addiction and/or mental health issues.
"Our victory here is a clear signal to the rest of the country that we’re ready for a broader conversation around psilocybin and its potential benefits," Matthews said. "[...] We’re looking forward to creating a positive relationship with city officials. We have the resources ready to make sure the Justice Department, the (district attorney’s) office and the Denver Police Department have the education they need to implement this in a way that’s fair."