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Oakland Moves Toward Deprioritizing MUSHROOMS!!!

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UPDATE: Oakland has now officially decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms. They are the second city in the US to do so.

The city of Oakland moved one step closer to deprioritizing arrest and prosecution of adults who use entheogenic plants.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Oakland’s Public Safety Committee adopted a resolution ordering police to make the arrest and investigation of adults who grow or use psychedelic mushrooms, peyote, iboga and various dimethyltryptamine producing plants typically used in ayahuasca the lowest investigative priority. The resolution, introduced by District 5 Councilperson Noel Gallo, would not legalize such plants, which are all still listed as Schedule 1 narcotics under the 1970 federal Controlled Substances Act.

However, Oakland police would simply ignore their use and possession. The liberalization of how laws concerning plant-based psychedelics are enforced would not, however, extend to their sale.

Magic mushroom. Photo courtesy of Manuel Barrosa Parejo/Unsplash

In its report to the committee, the activist organization Decriminalize Nature Oakland, which advocates for decriminalization of entheogens on the basis of their potential for therapeutic use, said, “[E]ntheogens should not be commodified, there will be no sales of plants and fungi and we will work closely with local communities to share resources.”

The full council will vote on the resolution at its next regular meeting on June 4. Unlike an ordinance, which requires two votes of the full council, the resolution will either be approved or denied on the basis of that one voting session.

Should the resolution pass, it would make Oakland the second city in the country to deprioritize prosecution for hallucinogenic plant and fungi possession after the city of Denver made a similar move last month. There, a ballot measure succeeded with less than 51 percent of the vote.

In Oakland, around 60 people spoke in support of deprioritization.

Mellody Hayes, an anesthesiologist at UCSF Benioff in San Francisco who addressed the committee, said she supports their use for mental health and well-being and called decriminalization an important step in ensuring access for those without the resources for more expensive pharmaceutical treatments.

“By decriminalizing, we will bring more access for health and wellness to all people,” Hayes said.

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Nevin Long

Nevin Long

Nevin Long is a writer-reporter, film critic, and East Bay resident since 2009. When he's not slogging it in the rain after a mass demonstration he's writing about, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, reading contemporary fiction, or kicking back and watching a movie so obscure not even the director's mother has heard of it.