Come May, Denver voters may have the chance to “free the spores."
The Decriminalize Denver campaign submitted more than 9,000 signatures to the City Election Division Monday. It was one of several initiatives that made the signature deadline for consideration to be on the May 2019 ballot. Denver elections has 25 days now to review signatures and determine sufficiency.
The movement to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms kicked off last March. Supporters gathered signatures to earn a spot on the November 2018 ballot, but ran into hurdles that kept the measure out of that election.
But in 2019, Decriminalize Denver returned with more than double the amount of signatures to make the May ballot.
"We get to be an example for Colorado and the United States. And I can tell you right now, the entire world is watching us as we move to decriminalize mushrooms in Denver," said Kevin Matthews, a drafter of the initiative.
@DecriminalizeDenver (Psilocybin Initiative) has submitted petitions for an Initiated Ordinance. We have 25 days to review the petitions to see if they contain enough valid signatures for the ordinance to appear on the May ballot. pic.twitter.com/VRizVqgO7u— Denver Elections (@DenverElections) January 7, 2019
If voters approve, the measure would make possession or use of psilocybin mushrooms by adults 21 or older the lowest priority for law enforcement.
Two initiatives have already cleared the signature requirements to get on the ballot: One to raise airport minimum wages to $15 an hour and another to overturn Denver's urban camping ban. Like the psilocybin, another initiative submitted signatures on Monday's deadline — one that, should voters approve, would put any future Denver Olympic bid to a citywide vote.
The @LetDenverVote Initiative (vote first on future Olympic funding) has submitted petitions for an Initiated Ordinance. We have 25 days to review the petitions to see if they contain enough valid signatures for the ordinance to appear on the May ballot. pic.twitter.com/ntqu83G9RU— Denver Elections (@DenverElections) January 7, 2019
The Olympic campaign's success comes after the news that Salt Lake City won the U.S. Olympic Committee's approval to bid for the 2030 Olympics.
Let Denver Vote organizer Christine O'Connor said that even though Denver is out of the running this time, city officials have made it clear they will offer Denver up again as a future Olympic site.
"We want to do it prospectively. Get this in the ordinance. So every time Denver decides to do this exploration process, they need to ask first," O'Connor said.
CPR News reporters Sam Brasch and Natalia Navarro contributed to this report.
Editor's Note: This story was updated to correct that psilocybin supporters seek to decriminalize possession, not fully legalize with their ballot measure. Additionally, the number of initiatives on the ballot and those that still need signature review was clarified. We regret the errors.