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What are ‘magic mushrooms’ and why did Denver vote to decriminalise it?

Psychedelic mushrooms, also known as " magic mushrooms" is a hallucinogenic chemical obtained from certain types of fresh and dried mushrooms.

A vendor bags psilocybin mushrooms at a pop-up cannabis market in Los Angeles on Monday, May 6, 2019.  (AP Photo)

Denver is likely to become the first city in the United States to decriminalise the use and possession of psychedelic mushrooms, also known as “magic mushrooms, ” after residents voted on an ordinance demanding a change in status.

According to Denver Elections Divisions, the final unofficial count on its website on Wednesday was 50.56 per cent of voters in favour and 49.44 per cent against. The results will be officially announced on May 16.

This would make the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms by those 21 years or older Denver’s “lowest law-enforcement priority.” It, however, does not legalize psilocybin or permit its sale by Denver’s cannabis businesses.

What are psychedelic mushrooms

Psychedelic mushrooms, also known as ” magic mushrooms” is a hallucinogenic chemical obtained from certain types of fresh and dried mushrooms. It is classified as Schedule 1 substance by the US Drug Enforcement Administration along with drugs like heroin, marijuana and LSD.

The agency has deemed that it has a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical application.

But according to Decriminalize Denver, the group behind Tuesday’s ballot initiative, psilocybin has 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, it said.

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.

Nilufer Saltuk of Denver smiles as she gets a sticker for dropping off her ballot at the Denver Electoral Commission Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Denver.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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.

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