EDITOR'S NOTE: We have corrected an erroneous paragraph in the original version of this editorial, regarding a peripheral topic of the Denver City Council's vote for a city operated heroin and methamphetamine site. The plan calls for city officials to assist with injections of drugs obtained by users, not the government. The Gazette regrets the error.
It is not a hallucination. It really happened. Denver voters apparently decriminalized hallucinogenic mushrooms Tuesday, securing the city’s image as The New Amsterdam-plus.
Even Amsterdam, the city best known for liberal drug laws, outlawed the mere possession of dry and fresh psychoactive mushrooms in 2008. That move came after years of enduring consistent problems with tourists losing connection with reality, including the teenage girl who hallucinated and jumped to her death off a bridge.
Psychedelic ’shrooms contain the Class 1 drug psilocybin, tolerated by no other jurisdiction in North America. No city or country in any direction for more than 5,000 miles tolerates the possession and/or consumption of this hallucinogenic.
With Tuesday’s apparent victory for initiated ordinance 301, Denver will make enforcement against psilocybin the lowest priority of the criminal justice system — lower than jaywalking. The vote eliminates any serious disincentive to use or possess the drug.
The Department of Justice reports psilocybin users experience “hallucinations and an inability to discern fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a large dose.”
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration warns psilocybin causes nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness and lack of coordination. “Overdose may result in psychosis or death,” the DEA reports.
By doing this, voters made national news and shocked much of the rest of the world when word got out Wednesday. “Holy cow, Martha, look what they’re doing in Colorado this time. First the pot thing, and now this. What’s next, heroin? Meth?”
Well, in fact, in November the Denver City Council voted 12-1 to fund and operate a heroin and methamphetamine consumption site, assisting addicts in usinng more dangerous drugs than psilocybin. If they succeed in convincing the Colorado Legislature to go along with it, city politicians will open an illicit drug house for substances that blatantly violate federal law. Such cool hipsters, they are. Only Councilman Kevin Flynn, a veteran Rocky Mountain News reporter, voted against the hard-drug house.
With Tuesday’s apparent decision by a slim majority of a small percentage who bothered to vote, Denver becomes the world’s undisputed playground for recreational drugs. Hallucinogenic drug users will move to the city and visit for mind-numbing escapes from reality. Dealers and distributors will relocate to Denver, knowing enforcement against their products are the lowest priority of law enforcement.
It is a sad day for Colorado when the state’s economic and cultural hub becomes the developed world’s central drug orgy.
Oddly, Denver’s magic fungi mistake could bode well for Colorado Springs — the region’s other big city.
The Springs and Denver compete for residents, tourists and businesses. We routinely trade rank on lists of best places to live, best places to start small businesses and other such honorifics. Demographers anticipate Colorado Springs will overtake Denver as Colorado’s largest city within the next three decades.
As Denver continues embracing the drug culture, Colorado Springs should hold its ground and resist the financial temptation to allow retail sales of recreational pot. In doing so, the city has little chance of accepting government-sponsored heroin houses, decriminalized hallucinogens, or any other such craziness.
Colorado Springs should distinguish itself as Denver’s alter ego — the place business executives, professionals, workers and tourists feel safe to bring their kids. If Denver attracts drug users, the Springs should continue attracting families fighting to keep children off drugs.
Not all was lost in Tuesday’s election. Proponents of the “right to survive” law, issue 300, wanted voters to allow anyone to live permanently on any public surface, in a sleeping bag, tent, box, shanty, car, or anything one could call home. It would have ended the city’s camping ban, and proponents fraudulently pitched it as a form of compassion for the poor.
People would have moved to Denver to live on sidewalks, rights-of-way between sidewalks and streets, in parks, outside museums and other public buildings, and on top of anything else deemed “public.” It would have made Denver a major hub of homelessness — to rival Seattle and San Francisco, or even worse. That, along with anything-goes pot and hallucinogenic-drug laws.
Cruelty was the inevitable result of issue 300. It would have rendered law enforcement with few options to offer help to people on the streets who suffer from substance abuse or mental illness.
Environmentalists worried 300 would cause more human waste to pollute the Platte River and other sources of clean water.
Voters rejected the insanity of 300 by more than 80% of the vote, after a variety of organized opponents waged a multimillion-dollar campaign against it. The mushroom idea seemed so ridiculous, so unlikely to pass, no one bothered to fight it with a well-funded campaign.
On another positive note, voters made Mayor Michael Hancock — a moderate, common- sense Democrat — the highest vote-getter in a six-way race of mostly far-left contenders. With 39% of the vote, he finished 13% ahead of the second-place finisher Jamie Giellis — an extreme progressive who supports allowing people to live on sidewalks, in parks, in cars, etc. A runoff will determine whether Hancock serves another term.
Despite a few good outcomes Tuesday, the funny fungi vote makes the Mile High City look like a dark urban drug den and an inevitable laughingstock for late-night TV. Welcome to Denver. Get high and hallucinate on Schedule 1 drugs. That’s just sad.