Reason Podcast

The Inside Story of How Denver Decriminalized Magic Mushrooms

Decriminalize Denver campaign director Kevin Matthews speaks about his winning strategy and the new frontier of drug policy.


Denver voters shocked the world this month by narrowly passing a ballot initiative decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms by a single percentage point.

Kevin Matthews, an Army veteran who says the psychedelic effects of psilocybin mushrooms helped cure his depression, ran the campaign Decriminalize Denver, which was responsible for crafting the initiative and getting it on the ballot.

Matthews spoke with Reason's Zach Weissmueller, who provided video coverage of the historic vote, about his reaction to the surprising come-from-behind win, why the campaign chose decriminalization over all-out legalization, what the likely effects of the change in Denver's law will be, and what he believes other drug decriminalization advocates might learn from his campaign strategy.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Photo credit: Frank Roeder/Newscom.