Voters decide this week whether Denver will become the first U.S. city to decriminalize the use of psilocybin, the psychedelic substance in “magic mushrooms.”
A citizen-led initiative appearing on ballots Tuesday follows a path that led to marijuana’s legalization in Denver and later in Colorado. Campaign organizers, though, say their only goal is to prevent people from going to jail for possessing or using mushrooms.
Here’s a look at the effort and the history of the drug:
WHAT ARE “MAGIC MUSHROOMS”?
Varieties that contain psilocybin are often referred to as “magic mushrooms.” The psychedelic substance, federally illegal since 1968, became more commonly associated with recreational use than medical purposes. Legendary rock bands like the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers Band frequently used images of mushrooms in their logos, T-shirts and other paraphernalia.
The federal government still classifies psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, defined as having no medical purpose and a high potential for abuse. The decision stymied research into its…