In a move which would see the legalization of psilocybin—or “magic” mushrooms, Oakland City Council has voted unanimously to decriminalize all natural psychedelics.
This includes mushrooms, making the major California Bay area the second city in the US to make the move.
The order will halt all investigations and prosecutions relating to the ‘drugs’ and applies to all psychedelics which are derived from plants and fungi, including psilocybin mushrooms and the psychedelic plants ayahuasca, cacti and iboga.
The law will not apply to synthetic drugs such as LSD, MDMA (Ecstacy) and all other man-made chemicals.
The move has come a month after Denver voters approved the decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms, halting the city from prosecuting people over 21 years of age who possess or use magic mushrooms.
100 supporters rose from their chairs in Oakland following the vote according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Nicolle Greenheart, co-founder of Decriminalize Nature Oakland, said:
“I don’t have words, I could cry … I’m thrilled. I’m glad that our communities will now have access to the healing medicines and we can start working on healing our communities.”
The resolution also instructs state and federal lobbyists to push the decriminalization agenda, calling Alameda County district attorneys to “cease prosecution of persons involved in the use of Entheogenic Plants or plant-based compounds” which currently fall under schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Councilman Noel Gallo introduced the resolution after meeting with Decriminalize Nature which is made up of supporters of the free use of psychedelics to treat mental health and assist the better well-being in patients.
Gallo spoke to the Chronicle, mentioning the move as a strong step towards legitimizing the medicinal use of plants:
“My grandmother took care of us. She didn’t go to Walgreens to heal us spiritually and physically, she did it out of plants we use as Native Americans.”
Oakland City Council has listed 30 testimonies from people who spoke out about how psilocybin assisted them better in dealing with mental health issues which spanned from depression, to anxiety, addiction and trauma.
During public comment, one woman said:
“I wasn’t really living a life, I was so disconnected … it was hard for me to survive everyday. It has helped me reach deep inside my soul and helped cure damage that had been done to me.”
Another man who explained that he struggled with heroin addiction said:
“It was the most beautiful and life-changing thing that ever happened to me.”
Rebecca Kaplan, council president thanked the supporters for sharing their “deep and personal and profound” stories.
Save the date and spread the word!!! June 4th, 2019! We will start gathering at 7pm to prepare for the final City Council vote to #DecriminalizeNature #Oakland! There is room for more than 2-300 people with overflow, let's pack the house! pic.twitter.com/0Db4xARHFt
— Decriminalize Nature (@DecrimNature) May 31, 2019
The amendment does clarify that the resolution does not allow for commercial sales, the manufacturing or possession or distribution in schools or while driving under the influence either and explains that PTSD sufferers should first seek help from a doctor before dosing, adding that natural psychedelics should be consumed in small doses for inexperienced users.
The move comes at a time where a growing body of research has emerged which lays out the benefits of magic mushrooms, with recent studies displaying how a micro-dose of psilocybin increased the creativity and empathy of participants.
This research has shattered the myth of magic mushrooms being the intoxicating, hallucination inducing party drug of the 70’s which was claimed to ‘drive users insane’.
Speaking before last week’s public safety committee, Councilman Gallo explained:
“We want to be able to provide another medical service… to be able to help us at home and that is what this is all about … And it’s nothing new. It’s been happening for thousands of years in different countries, in different spiritual backgrounds.”
The next to follow may be the state of Iowa along with efforts to legalize psilocybins in Oregon.
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