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Samwise

'These are healing plants': Oakland decriminalizes psilocybin mushrooms and organic psychedelics

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Samwise

The times they are a changin'...

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'These are healing plants': Oakland decriminalizes magic mushrooms

Move by northern California city comes one month after voters in Denver approved a similar initiative to decriminalize psilocybin

Oakland has become the second city in the US to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other psychedelics, with a policy that activists hope will spark a national legalization movement.

The measure, passed on Tuesday night by councilmembers in the progressive northern California city, comes one month after voters in Denver approved a similar ballot initiative to decriminalize psilocybin, which supporters say can help treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions.

“They are naturally occurring and have been used by humans for thousands of years,” said Carlos Plazola, the director of Decriminalize Nature Oakland, the group behind the measure. He told the Guardian he became interested in decriminalization after he had a transformative experience on mushrooms last fall: “These are not drugs. These are healing plants … We just think they should never have been made illegal to begin with.”

The Oakland measure, which gained unanimous approval, decriminalizes adult use of psychoactive plants and fungi, including mushrooms, cacti, iboga and ayahuasca. Decriminalization means the city is effectively directing law enforcement not to investigate or prosecute people for the use, sale or distribution of these plants and fungi.

The resolution cited research linking psychedelics and natural hallucinogensto a range of mental health benefits.

“These are natural plants that can help you with depression, anxiety, alcoholism,” said council member Noel Gallo, who sponsored the measure. “It’s a remedy that has been proven. People already use them. They already have them at home. It’s not a new product.”

For years, California and the city of Oakland have led the way on drug law reforms, with the Golden State becoming the first in the nation to approve medical marijuana in 1996. States across the country have since legalized medical and recreational cannabis, and activists hope Oakland’s mushroom measure will also be a catalyst for reforms in the US.

“I think it can have a ripple effect throughout the nation,” said Plazola, a 50-year-old who works in real estate. “The whole process should be a model for other cities.”

It is already rare for law enforcement to prioritize arrests and prosecution for mushrooms. Oakland police have documented 19 cases over five years, Plazola said.

He said the resolution was aimed at education and expanded access, noting that there were existing underground networks of doctors, therapists, facilitators and others who help people use psychedelics in safe and responsible ways.

“This is getting the word out about the healing power,” he said. “Many people in communities of color and communities of trauma are not getting access.”

When Plazola took mushrooms for the first time in October 2018, he said it helped him overcome childhood trauma that he has struggled with for decades: “It’s a very personal move for me … It was mind-blowing the level of transformation it allowed.”

Council member Rebecca Kaplan said the policy was also in line with ongoing criminal justice reforms: “We need to continue to act to help end mass incarceration and the war on drugs.”

Gallo said he didn’t want police wasting any resources on mushrooms: “Let us take care of our health.”

The fungi are still outlawed at the state and federal level.

Oakland is not the only jurisdiction pursuing this form of decriminalization. Similar efforts are under way in Oregon, Iowa and across California.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/05/oakland-magic-mushrooms-decriminalize

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Mush Zombie

They might be changing, but keep in mind this is just two cities in different states. The municipal government (city, county, town) is not sovereign. It’s laws (which are known as ordinances) can be invalidated by judges and the State legislature, and the governor (at all three levels of government). Mushroom spores and psilocybin are still illegal in California at the state level. If the States will decriminalize psilocybin and spores, that is where we will begin to see real change. 

Most cities in the US already do not prioritize hunting down illegal mushrooms. Oakland officials admitted that locking people up over psilocybin already has not been a priority for them. But if the mushrooms are still illegal on the State level, the police still have the option to charge you with the State offense, and the city can not argue with that.

It is cool and all, but I don’t see the point unless the State decriminalizes psilocybin. 

I’ve seen a lot of false headlines about this too, claiming the mushrooms have been made legal. Absolutely could not be farther from the truth. Don’t go running around in these two cities tripping balls with mushrooms in your pockets thinking you won’t get in trouble. You can still get in a lot of trouble!

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Robotard

Or ask some of truckers that have been busted transporting hemp about the different tiers of legality.

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Mush Zombie

Or the medical marijuana industry operating legally at the state level, but the big bad federal government comes and kicks their door in and arrests everyone including patients or customers.

People have a tendency to run wild with stuff like this, but it’s important to understand the battle is far from over, and all of this stuff is still illegal at some level of government. For psilocybin it’s still illegal at all levels of government that matter. That is the State and federal governments. Municipal governments cannot go against their sovereign rulers, which created them by law, and allow them to operate.

Im interested to see where this goes, as it could still go either way, but I’m not optimistic about states decriminalizing hallucinogens. Hope they prove me wrong!

I’m also a little upset that mushrooms were referred to as being plants... That is irritating lol

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