Plant-Based Decriminalization

There is a new day dawning for plant based medicines, friends. The conversation around cannabis and psychedelics has changed vastly in the last decade, and the elections of 2019 have proven it. On May 7th, 2019 the city of Denver voted to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, and on June 5th, 2019 the city of Oakland took it one step further, decriminalizing all plant-based entheogens. But what does that mean for these cities? And what now?

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Denver

In Denver’s case, psilocybin mushrooms have been decriminalized. While this does not mean psilocybin can be found in your neighborhood dispensary and it is still illegal to distribute them, it does mean that psilocybin becomes a low priority issue for law enforcement. They cannot arrest anyone (over the age of 21) for personal possession, consumption, or growth of psilocybin; it also prohibits city funds from being accessed to prosecute such cases.

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Oakland

As for Oakland, they took it one step further than the city of Denver. The voters approved the decriminalization of all plant-based entheogens, which isn’t just limited to psilocybin. This includes mescaline, ayahuasca, dimethyltryptamine as well as a few others. Basically, if it comes from a plant, you can’t get arrested in Oakland for it, and, like in Denver, law enforcement cannot use city funds to prosecute folks 21+ for possession, use or cultivation.

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What now?

So what now? Does this mean magic mushies will be legal soon? In short, no. While Denver and Oakland could in the future decide to put legalization on the ballot, in my opinion, what happens now is a steady paradigm shift in how we view these substances. The consensus around the country in recent years has been that the war on drugs was a failure, and with more and more clinical research being done, as well as powerful anecdotes coming out, public opinion is changing. The very fact that these initiatives not only made it on the ballot in the first place, but passed the first time, is a very good indicator of this. Now that these cities have broken the initial barrier, I think by the end of the summer we’re going to hear about a multitude more cities putting these kinds of initiatives on the ballot. And come next November, I think national conversation on psychedelics will steadily start to become the norm. Colorado and California obviously have unmistakable voting power, and the fact that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a bill to increase federal research of both cannabis and psilocybin last week is very telling of that. The times, they are a-changin’.

~written by Melinda Gardner~