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 and now has no accepted medical use.
"Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world", Hunt said. But if the measure were approved, she supported 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.
Proponents of more lenient criminal enforcement of psilocybin cite studies indicating that the drug can be beneficial for treating depression and anxiety among cancer patients.
The psychedelic substance, federally illegal since 1968, became more commonly associated with recreational use than medical purposes. There are several varieties of mushrooms which naturally have psilocybin, which if consumed, can cause hallucinations.
The group behind the decriminalizing effort, Decriminalize Denver, insists that magic mushrooms are entirely natural and essentially harmless. Voters in California, Colorado and OR all have voted in favor of broadly allowing marijuana use in recent years, both for medical and personal use. "Psilocybin therapy looks like it is a new paradigm in the treatment of psychiatric disorders", said Matthew Wayne Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, NBC News reported. Users describe seeing vivid colors and experiencing powerful emotions.More news: World markets slump amid US-China trade tensions
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A similar initiative failed to decriminalize "magic mushrooms" in California a year ago.
Specifically, officials will now be barred from "spending resources to impose criminal penalties" for personal use and possession of the drug for residents over the age of 21. Organizers in OR are trying to gather enough support to put an initiative to a statewide vote next year.
The initiative does not legalize psilocybin or permit its sale by Denver's cannabis businesses.
In January, the group was able to collect over 9,500 signatures to get the measure added to the ballot.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and District Attorney Beth McCann opposed the initiative, but there was no organized campaign against decriminalization.
Matthews says he's optimistic about his initiative's chances, telling Reason that the yes side's canvassing efforts have encountered few die-hard opponents.