Denver is voting to become the first city to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms
Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Decriminalize Denver, organized the grassroots effort to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.
Matthews told CNN that he credited mushrooms with "really saving my life."
He been a cadet at the United States Military Academy when he developed major depression and received a medical discharge.
"My life had crumbled beneath my feet," he said.
After years of suffering and not finding a solution, Matthews said friends introduced him to psilocybin mushrooms.
"The positive effects lasted weeks and weeks and weeks," he said. "I had been feeling pretty isolated and alone and until then, couldn't see the love all around me."
On its website, Decriminalize Denver says, "Humans have used these mushrooms for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight, strengthening community, and raising consciousness,"
The group also argues that "One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits."
In January, Decriminalize Denver announced
that it collected nearly 9,500 signatures, and turned in paperwork with the Denver Elections Division to get the initiative placed on the ballot.
At the time, Jeff Hunt, vice president of public policy for Colorado Christian University, told CNN affiliate KMGH
that he opposed the decriminalizing magic mushrooms in the city. He said the ordinance might discourage tourists from coming to the city.
"Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world," Hunt said. "The truth is we have no idea what the long-term health effects of these drugs are going to do to the people of Colorado."
If passed, the initiative also includes a requirement for the city to establish a "policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance."
The ballot initiative would build on previous efforts regarding drug ordinances. In 2005, the city became the first major city in the US to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Polic