How Denver Decriminalized Magic Mushrooms (HBO)

Denver became the first city in the country to decriminalize the use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms, after a ballot initiative squeaked through with 50.6% of the vote, according to election officials. The unofficial final results — which are not expected to change when overseas votes are counted — was a stunning turn of events, after the measure trailed in the polls all day, and seemed doomed to fail.

Magic mushrooms are not legal in Denver; the initiative merely directs the police to consider enforcement of existing laws as the lowest priority going forward. It also prohibits law enforcement officials from using any resources to prosecute those cases.

There was no polling on citywide views of psilocybin decriminalization, and in the weeks leading up to the vote, the measure largely flew under the radar. Although top city officials, including the mayor and district attorney, came out against the proposal, none bothered to organize any sort of opposition, and most residents focused their energy on the other items on the ballot, including a close race for mayor and another ballot initiative that would permit camping on city property. That measure failed by a wide margin.

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