California voters declined to join the psychedelic revolution when a mushroom decriminalization initiative failed to appear on statewide ballots in 2018. But a city that has long been a leader in the state when it comes to natural drug access has officially brought California into the world of legal mushrooms. On Tuesday, Oakland’s City Council voted unanimously to decriminalize entheogenic plants.
The ruling goes for hallucinogenic growths like the iboga plant, but does not apply to synthetic drugs. LSD and MDMA users, that means you’ll have to wait for another day for your legalization moment.
The resolution also does not allow for the sale of the plants. Decriminalize Nature Oakland was the group driving the resolution, and it has an anti-commodification stance when it comes to hallucinogens. Instead, residents will need to rely on collectives for supply of the drug.
“Concepts such as collectives could provide a space to have an experience, or ‘road people’ who could visit those in hospice care or unable to leave their home,” wrote councilperson Noel Gallo in his agenda report for the City Council’s public safety committee.
Oakland has long been a pioneer in the field of natural drugs and psychedelics. The city has been the site of the International Psychedelic Science Conference, and long-time home to Oaksterdam University, which was founded in 2007 as the country’s first educational institute dedicated to cannabis. It was also home to some of the country’s first programs to promote social equity in the cannabis industry.
The Town, as it is known in the Bay Area, is not the first US city to widen access to hallucinogenic mushrooms, which have been found to be the world’s safest drug. That honor goes to Denver, whose voters opted for initiative I-301 last month. Like Oakland’s resolution, the Denver measure decriminalizes mushroom possession for adults 21 and older, and ties the city’s hands financially against exacting penalties against their use and possession.
Though scientific studies of hallucinogens have been hampered by existing prohibition laws, across the world exciting scientific correlations have been drawn to their usage, particularly that of magic mushrooms. Links to quitting cigarette smoking, surviving social rejection, evolving political views, aiding with depression in cancer patients, and generally increasing well-being have all been found in the last years.
In Australia, doctors have used ‘shrooms to treat terminally ill patients. Microdosing in particular, has enjoyed recent mainstream attention, and one study this year found that creativity, focus, and productivity all rose when participants reported micro-dosing.
“Practices with Entheogenic Plants have long existed and have been considered to be sacred to human cultures and human interrelationships with nature for thousands of years, and continue to be enhanced and improved to this day by religious and spiritual leaders, practicing professionals, mentors, and healers throughout the world, many of whom have been forced underground,” reads the resolution in part. Those words will be music to the ears of those who have long known about the healing powers contained in friendly fungi.