D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said she plans to cast a ballot in person at an early voting center later this week, and will vote against a ballot question asking whether the city should decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and other psychoactive drugs.

“It seems like the issue is not an organically D.C.-created initiative, and I don’t typically favor those. I won’t be voting for it,” Bowser said at a news conference Monday.

D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) said she also will vote against the question, but at least three council members — and several council candidates — say they are for it.

Bowser did not discuss her views on the merits of the initiative, which would not legalize psychedelic drugs but would direct police to treat possession and distribution of such substances as among the “lowest law enforcement priorities.” The initiative would also request that federal prosecutors not pursue charges against D.C. residents involved in psychedelic drug activity.

Denver and Oakland have adopted similar measures. The D.C. version was introduced by a city government employee who used microdoses of psychedelic mushrooms to help her recover from postpartum depression.

Bowser’s comment about outside influence may have been a reference to the funding for the Decriminalize Nature campaign promoting the initiative. That campaign has been largely funded by a $536,000 contribution from a political action committee called New Approach.

The Vista, Calif.-based soap company Dr. Bronner’s is a large contributor to New Approach. David Bronner, the founder’s grandson, said the company increased its political and charitable contributions this year as its profits soared because of people scrambling to buy up soap and cleaning supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Decriminalize Nature has plastered “Vote Yes” signs all over the city, while there has been little visible campaigning against the ballot measure.

Bowser’s health director, LaQuandra Nesbitt, objected last month to the campaign’s focus on mushrooms and other substances as “natural.”

“People talk about things being plant-based as if that makes them automatically healthy,” she said, pointing out that opioids and tobacco also come from plants. She said that it would be “very difficult” for her as a medical professional to support residents using mushrooms and similar drugs without further research on their long-term side effects.

Many of the candidates running as independents for an open at-large seat on the D.C. Council have endorsed the initiative, spanning the political spectrum from left-leaning Ed Lazere, Markus Batchelor, Jeanné Lewis and Will Merrifield to moderate candidates Marcus Goodwin and Vincent B. Orange.

Most council members have not taken public stances on the ballot question, with Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) saying in a radio interview last week that the way the initiative is written — asking police to set different priorities and calling for action from federal prosecutors, whom the District has no authority to compel — makes it unsubstantial.

“I think it doesn’t have a whole lot of consequence one way or the other,” he said.

The Washington Post asked all 13 members of the council or their aides Monday whether they would vote for the initiative, and only four — including Bonds — responded.

Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2), Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and retiring member David Grosso (I-At Large) said they plan to vote yes or have already done so.

“This is a criminal justice issue,” Pinto said. “I believe it is important that here in the District we deprioritize arrests for low-level drug offenses, especially since we know that many residents use entheogens for medicinal purposes.”

Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large), who is up for reelection, said in a candidates’ forum this fall that he had not made up his mind about the initiative.

D.C. residents who turned out Tuesday, the first day of in-person voting in the city, expressed a range of views about the ballot initiative, from ignorance to suspicion to enthusiasm.

Destiny Gaines, 28, who voted at Nationals Park, supported it. “I don’t understand why people should be getting in trouble for things like that, especially when there’s a lot of science behind it saying that it could help people with anxiety and depression,” she said.

Patria and Charles Stodghill, an older married couple, were split on the issue when casting their ballots in Ward 4’s Emery Heights Community Center.

“If they are natural plants, people should be able to do more research, and I don’t think everything we use should be a criminal offense,” Patria said.

Her husband was more skeptical of loosening drug laws: “We are too far to the left on the issue generally.”

The most recent successful ballot initiative in the District also dealt with controlled substances, when voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing the use and possession of recreational marijuana in 2014.

In 2018, voters approved a ballot initiative calling for a raise in the minimum wage for tipped workers. But the council overturned that action, a decision that still rankles some city activists, who hope to bring the issue before the council again next year.

Lola Fadulu and Fenit Nirappil contributed to this report.