“The city of Oakland breeds hell-raisers. Visionary writers such as Jack London and Amy Tan have called the Town home, as did radical politician Earl Warren, who paved the way for eliminating segregation in schools. Actress Zendaya is a local legend in the making. Then, of course, there are the Black Panthers and MC Hammer and his pants.
That’s been the case time and again, including Oakland’s treatment of marijuana, as it was one of the first places to decriminalize it long before legalization swept over larger swaths of America. And once recreational use arrived, it became the first city to put an equity program in place that prioritized permits and support for people of color who had previously been arrested for selling weed in the illegal market.
Now it appears that Oakland’s next sights are on psychedelic plants. The City Council unanimously passed a resolution in June decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms and other “entheogenic plants,” such as ayahuasca and iboga. This came on the heels of Denver’s move to decriminalize solely psilocybin mushrooms just weeks before. Under the resolution, Oakland law enforcement will not investigate and prosecute adults over 21 possessing magic mushrooms and other psychoactive plants.
The news begs the question, Is this the next frontier in the drug-legalization movement? And if so, will Oakland be the city to lead it?
Oakland resident Carlos Plazola cofounded Decriminalize Nature Oakland with other advocates of entheogenic-plant medicine in January after he endured a revelatory magic-mushroom experience that helped him source his anxiety and anger issues to childhood trauma. Councilman Gallo sponsored the resolution, saying he sees the plants as another form of medicine that people can try when other treatments fail to help them. He also said he personally knows about the healing powers of plants, as his Native American grandmother used them for traditional medicine.
Nearly 100 people were in the City Council chambers in support of the vote, some sharing their stories about how psychedelic plants have helped them with addiction and depression.
While there’s a lot more research to be done, some studies have shown psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy’s efficacy helps reduce depression and anxiety for cancer patients as well as alcohol dependence. Santa Cruz–based MAPS has long researched psychedelic medicine, and FDA-supported, large-scale clinical trials exploring psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression are underway in North America and Europe.
Read the full article at The Bold Italic