magic mushrooms
A study found psilocybin mushrooms can cure depression without dampening emotions. Getty Images

Denver will head to polls on Tuesday, May 7, to decide whether to decriminalize the use of ‘magic mushrooms’ in the city. If passed, Denver will become the first city in the United States to decriminalize the substance.

The movement, which was lead by Decriminalize Denver, received double the number of signatures required for the vote earlier this year. The movement is primarily focused on making these mushrooms legal and thereby preventing people of 21 years and older from going to prison for the possession and usage of psilocybin mushrooms.

Psilocybin mushroom, also known as ‘magic mushrooms’, is a Schedule I controlled substance. Magic mushrooms have been commonly associated with drugs used recreationally such as heroin, marijuana and not with those used for medical purposes.

Recent research, however, has found that psilocybin helps in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression in cancer patients. The drug's advocates have also said that it can reduce post- traumatic stress disorder. "Psilocybin therapy looks like it is a new paradigm in the treatment of psychiatric disorders," said Matthew Wayne Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, NBC News reported.

Other researchers have said that it can also lead to negative effects like anxiety and paranoia.

The city’s Mayor Michael Hancock and district attorney Beth McCann have publicly opposed the initiative. The police department does not have an official stand about the initiative and they have not commented on the initiative publicly.

In 2005, Denver decriminalized marijuana and Colorado became the first state in the United States to legalize it for recreational purposes. The district attorney McCann’s spokesperson said that McCann opposes the initiative partly because the city is still trying to understand the effects of legalizing marijuana.

A similar initiative failed to decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms’ in California last year.