Oakland, California, Becomes Second U.S. City to Decriminalize 'Magic Mushrooms'
Denver previously voted to decriminalize the hallucinogenic fungi in May
Another city has voted to decriminalize hallucinogenic and psychedelic fungi, commonly known as “magic mushrooms.”
According to USA Today, the Oakland, California, City Council voted to legalize the fungi on Tuesday, making them the second city in the country to do so. Denver, Colorado, was the first, after a popular vote last month.
The outlet reported that the vote directs law enforcement officials to stop investigating, arresting and prosecuting adults who use or possess drugs sourced from mushrooms and other plants. According to the Associated Press, no city funds will be allowed to enforce laws criminalizing the hallucinogens, and police officers will be able to focus on higher-priority investigations.
Ahead of the vote, advocates for decriminalization spoke in front of the council, including one who said the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms “saved” his life.
“I don’t how to describe it other than miraculous,” the man, who described himself as a former heroin addict, said, the AP reported.
Other speakers argued that the naturally occurring drugs in fungi and other plants have been used in various cultures for centuries.
“It’s the plants that are going to bring us back to sanity. We’ve got to listen to their message and we’ve got to live reciprocally with nature and restore the natural order,” Susana Eager Valadez said, according to USA Today. Valadez works for an organization that supports the Wixárika tribe in Mexico, who use hallucinogenic plants in their ceremonies.
Some speakers did not support legalization, including physician Michael Clarendon.
“Indigenous people use mushrooms in controlled rituals, not recreationally,” he said, USA Today reported. “The most responsible course for the city council would be to put this on hold to see what happens in Denver and what the response is there.”
Lawmakers assuaged the concerns of those speakers who did not support decriminalization by adding amendments to the resolution that provide a guide for users on how to use the substances safely.
According to USA Today, these amendments included a suggestion that new users begin with very small amounts of the fungi so they can observe how it affects them before tying a larger dose. Other amendments suggested that new users seek expert guidance, and have a trusted, sober loved one with them while they take the substance.