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Oakland, California just became the second city in America to decriminalize magic mushrooms, after Denver. If one more city moves that way, we’ll have a magic mushroom trend sweeping the nation.
The Associated Press reports that the Oakland City Council unanimously decided to make the use, possession, and cultivation of shrooms—and other plants and fungi that contain naturally occurring psychoactive compounds—a very low priority for law enforcement, effectively allowing Oakland residents to have easier access to these drugs. Besides magic mushrooms, that list includes peyote as well.
Before voting, the council heard testimony from locals, most with stories of how using hallucinogens containing psilocybin—the active compound in shrooms and other plants—had helped them deal with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and addiction. Although scientists are gathering more and more information about psilocybin as we speak, there are limited studies available that already indicate it could do a great deal of good for people with mental health issues. Other testimony for the council described how native people use hallucinogens for tribal rituals—not recreationally.
“We have many mental challenges on our streets today, and it’s important to be able to freely provide whatever medicinal support we can, including the use of plants that have beneficial effects for thousands of years,” said Oakland City Council member Noel Gallo, who introduced the resolution.
Oakland’s psychedelic plant resolution will include language cautioning users to be careful and seek expert guidance. There’s even a suggestion to have a trusted friend nearby to watch over the trip. That’s sound advice for us all.
While the council did the brunt of the work in Oakland, it was Denver voters who got a psilocybin initiative passed in their city. In both cases, grassroots organizing helped educate residents.
As more cities—and even states, especially considering Oregon might have an initiative on a state ballot in 2020—push for decriminalization, it will be easier to collect research on psilocybin. In fact, it’s very much like the early days of marijuana legalization. By the way, recreational marijuana is all but guaranteed to become legal in Illinois now. That’s a good bit of news.