New California High? Initiative to Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms Proposed

Magic Mushroom (Kirt Edblom / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Kirt Edblom / Flickr / CC / Cropped

California could be the first state in the nation to legalize psychedelic mushrooms, if a controversial ballot initiative filed with the Secretary of State last Friday passes.

The sponsor of the initiative, a legalization activist named Kevin Saunders, is sure to inspire a whole new wave of creative headlines nationwide, taking pot shots at California. Saunders simply believes that mushroom legalization is the next logical step after recreational marijuana was approved by voters last year.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Saunders faces an uphill battle attempting to legalize a controversial hallucinogen. He must gather 365,000 valid signatures, and overcome strong societal barriers to acceptance. But he believes his cause is more mainstream: “Not only are the soccer moms high now, but some of them are taking mushrooms,” he told the Bee.

Saunders own colorful past, exposed by The Hill, is likely to give opponents a lot of fodder to fight his cause:

The measure is backed by a legalization activist who says he kicked his heroin habit with the help of a mushroom trip in Death Valley. It would exempt Californians over the age of 21 from a state law that criminalizes mushrooms containing psilocybin, the compound that gives some mushrooms psychedelic properties…

Saunders, who is running for mayor of the small coastal community of Marina, said he believes psilocybin-laced mushrooms could have been transported to earth by an asteroid.

“What I think we’re dealing with possibly is alien contact,” Saunders said in an interview. “It may be some sort of communication from an advanced society, to reprogram us, to reprogram our souls or mind. I think this could be the next big awakening.”

Even if California voters were to approve mushroom legalization, it would face other steeper obstacles.  Like marijuana, which is also still on the federal government’s list of Schedule 1 drugs, mushrooms would likely be an enforcement target for the Trump administration, according to the Bee:

The U.S. government classifies psilocybin as Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s unclear how many Californians take hallucinogenic mushrooms – according to a 2015 survey by the California Mental Health Planning Council, no county listed hallucinogenics as a major abuse problem.

Saunders plans to reach out to celebrities in Hollywood and Silicon Valley for funding.

California Secretary of State Xavier Becerra must approve the initiative and grant a title and summary before Saunders can begin gathering signatures.


Tim Donnelly is a former California State Assemblyman and Author, currently on a book tour for his new book: Patriot Not Politician: Win or Go Homeless.  He also ran for governor in 2014.


Twitter:  @PatriotNotPol



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.