Following close behind Denver’s monumental decision in May, Oakland is now the second city in the US to vote to decriminalize psilocybin and all other “natural” sources of psychedelics. Oakland’s City Council’s public safety committee held its first public hearing on the resolution on May 28, and the measure passed unanimously this past Tuesday.
Psilocybin is the psychoactive substance in “magic mushrooms”, which is now legalized along with other naturally sourced substances such as ayahuasca, peyote and ibogaine.
The measure stops local law enforcement from investigating and prosecuting citizens in possession or use of these psychedelic substances. It does not include the use and possession of synthetic drugs such as LSD or MDMA.
Activists behind the initiative to legalize naturally sourced substances advocate the use of psychedelics for research and therapy. Psilocybin, ayahuasca, peyote and ibogaine are plant-based entheogens — a term used to describe psychedelic substances believed to induce spiritual experiences.
It is argued that indigenous tribes have used psilocybin and other natural hallucinogenic plants for centuries. Recent studies have also shown that psilocybin may be helpful in treating “substance abuse, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress symptoms, chronic depression, severe anxiety, end-of-life anxiety, grief, diabetes, cluster headaches and other conditions are plaguing our community,” reads the resolution drafted by Decriminalize Nature Oakland, a community group advocating for the decriminalization of natural psychedelics.
Psilocybin has been outlawed by the federal government since the 1960’s and classified as a Schedule I drug, considered to have no medical use and a high risk for abuse, making it harder for researchers to pursue further study.
Elsa Lee is an Editorial Intern at Mixmag. Follow her on Twitter
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