Oakland Votes to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms
Oakland has passed a resolution to effectively decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in a unanimous City Council vote on Tuesday. Oakland becomes the second U.S. city to legalize this psychoactive compound, following in the footsteps of Denver who legalized it earlier this year.
The resolution is broader than Denver’s, with Oakland decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms, along with all other “entheogenic plants” in general including plants and fungi that contain psychoactive substances.
Going forward, those who participate in growing, buying, distributing, or possessing the substances “shall be amongst the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Oakland.” It also calls for no city money to be used “to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of Entheogenic Plants by adults.” It is important to note that it does not allow for the commercial sale or manufacturing of the mushrooms for public consumption.
A report published by the group Decriminalize Nature Oakland wrote “For millennia, cultures have respected entheogenic plants and fungi for providing healing, knowledge, creativity, and spiritual connection. This initiative aims to empower the Oakland community by restoring their relationship to nature.” The report lists mushrooms as being effective in treating conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and depression.
Prior to the vote, more than 30 people lined up to give their testimony on how plant-based psychedelic like mushrooms have had a positive impact on their lives. Many of them detailed the use of what they called “plant medicines” as being effective in treating trauma, addiction, and anxiety. Many of these described suffering from years of pain and anguish, with many having been addicted to prescription drugs.
The resolution was presented and sponsored by Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo. “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,” Gallo said.
Other states like Oregon are currently undergoing efforts to place a decriminalization resolution on the state’s 2020 ballot. Recently, Jeff Shipley, a Republican lawmakers in Iowa, announced his support of a similar bill in his state’s legislature.