Oakland Joins Denver as Second City to Decriminalize Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

magic mushrooms (Jan Daniels / AFP / Getty)
Jan Daniels / AFP / Getty
WARNER TODD HUSTON

Oakland, California, has joined the ‘shroom gang by becoming the second U.S. city to decriminalize the possession and use of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The “Mile High City” of Denver voted to decriminalize mushrooms last month to “deprioritize, to the greatest extent possible” the criminal penalties for “the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms.” The Denver city council added it would “prohibit the city from spending resources to impose criminal penalties.”

Now, Oakland is following the same path by placing possession and use of “magic mushrooms” low on the list of priorities for police, The Hill reported.

The measure does not legalize psilocybin, the active ingredient in the mushrooms, as the substance is still illegal under both federal and state laws.

During the public comment segment of a recent city meeting, several citizens stood to testify to the healing power of mushrooms.

“Entheogenic plants and fungi are tremendous for helping to enable healing, particularly for folks who have experienced trauma in their lives,” said Carlos Plazola, chair of the advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Oakland. “These plants are being recommended pretty extensively undercover, underground, by doctors and therapists.”

Councilmember Noel Gallo noted that the council would set about creating new rules about what substances can be used and possessed and how city police will deal with violators.

But Gallo also noted that growing up in the Mexican culture made him sympathetic to use of mushrooms.

“Growing up in the Mexican community, this was our cure,” Gallo said of mushrooms, adding, “that was our Walgreens.”

“These are plants we have known for thousands of years in our community and that we continue to use,” Gallo concluded.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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