Oakland City Council Effectively Decriminalizes Psychedelic Mushrooms
Oakland passed a resolution to effectively decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and other psychoactive plants and fungi in a unanimous City Council vote on Tuesday.
That makes it the second U.S. city to do so – last month, Denver voters approved a similar ballot initiative that decriminalizes the "magic" mushrooms.
Oakland's resolution is broader than Denver's. Denver's initiative decriminalized the use and possession of mushrooms containing the compound psilocybin, whereas Oakland's refers to "entheogenic plants" in general, which includes the mushrooms and other plants and fungi containing psychoactive substances.
The resolution says city money will not be used "to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of Entheogenic Plants by adults." It says that investigating people for growing, buying, distributing or possessing the substances "shall be amongst the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Oakland."
As KQED's Sonja Hutson reports, "it does not allow for commercial sale or manufacturing of the mushrooms."
Opponents of the move are concerned that it will encourage people to experiment with potentially harmful drugs, Hutson adds, while supporters see potential therapeutic effects.
"We just need the green light to bring these healing tools above ground and carry on what has been done for centuries," Nicole Stewart from the group Decriminalize Nature Oakland told Hutson. "Healing ourselves through our relationship with nature. Let's start here in Oakland and be a beacon of hope and healing."
Those possible therapeutic effects were highlighted in an agenda report filed to City Council by the resolution's sponsor, Council member Noel Gallo.
Rainbows filled the streets of Oakland on Sunday as thousands celebrated during the Oakland Pride parade and festival.
Marching bands, and drag queens walked along the Broadway parade route waving to cheering crowds along the way.
Music, art, and food booths filled more then six city blocks for the annual Pride Festival.
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