In a nail biter, Denver voters say 'yes' to psilocybin magic mushrooms
Psychedelic decriminalized by 2,000 votes
The shrooms won.
In a nail-biting, first-of-its kind result, Denver voters decided to decriminalize a psychedelic: psilocybin mushrooms.
"The last day has been the trip of my life," said Kevin Matthews, head of the Decriminalize Denver campaign. "We won!!"
With this initiative, city cops are supposed to ignore mushrooms if they find them, and the district attorney isn't supposed to spend money to prosecute them.
In other words: no one will go to jail for fungus.
Unlike marijuana, there won't be shroom shops — but there may end up being mushroom parties, mushroom retreats and mushroom growing classes.
It took 20 hours of vote counting to decide the results. Most news outlets reported it as a loss. But the campaign always knew there was more to come.
"Vicious optimism," campaign organizer Travis Fluck said.
The first tallies, posted at 7 p.m. on election day, had the initiative, called 301, trailing by 10 percent.
At the watch party for the campaign, as those results flashed on a big screen in a posh event space called Invisible City, a gasp ricocheted through the crowd, followed by a half-minute of silence. Though the race tightened over the evening, advocates left crestfallen.
But Denver Elections counted late into the night. By 1 a.m., the groundbreaking initiative lagged only 3.5 percent.
By late afternoon on Wednesday, May 8, shrooms had squeaked out a win, 50.55 percent to 49.44 percent.
Denver saw no organized opposition, but critics said that freer mushrooms would bring an "unsavory element" to town, and high drivers could plow down pedestrians.
Denver was the first American city to decriminalize marijuana, in 2005. That set off weed decriminalization votes across the country.
"Our victory is a clear signal to the rest of the country that the American people are ready for a larger conversation around psilocybin and drug policy reform in general," said Matthews. "We look forward to working with city officials, the people of Denver, and other groups working toward decriminalization."