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Denver Led the Charge on Legalizing Pot. Are Psychedelic Mushrooms Next?

Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana and now it’s leading the way on hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The city of Denver is reconsidering its stance on psilocybin mushrooms, known as magic mushrooms. Voters in three months will get their say on the matter alongside a mayoral election.

Psilocybin mushrooms have hallucinogenic effects. If the measure is approved, it will still be illegal to buy, sell or possess the mushrooms, but it will mandate police officers to make enforcing those laws their absolute lowest priority—even below jaywalkers—for adult users over the age of 21. It’s as close to decriminalization as possible without changing the law.

Currently, possession of the mushrooms could result in one year in prison and a large fine.

Magic mushrooms can send users into an altered state for up to six hours. Effects vary by person. Many researchers say the mushrooms can serve medicinal purposes when used in a controlled setting to treat things like depression and to help quit smoking.

Proponents argue the mushrooms are safer than marijuana or alcohol, but critics claim the city’s vote to limit enforcement is a thinly-veiled step towards full legalization.

Among those critics are Denver’s mayor and district attorney Beth McCann, who told the Denver Post in a statement “Until we have had a longer period to learn more about the impact of marijuana legalization, I do not support the legalization of another federally-banned substance.”

Denver’s not the only place in the U.S. that’s looking to bring legal leniency to psilocybin mushrooms. Oregon will have a measure on its statewide ballot in 2020, allowing the drug to be used at licensed facilities.