Pubdate: Wed, 05 Jun 2019
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2019 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Sarah Ravani


The Oakland City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night that
decriminalizes certain natural psychedelics, including mushrooms, a
move that makes Oakland the second city in the nation to do so.

The resolution instructs law enforcement to stop investigating and
prosecuting people using the drugs. It applies to psychedelics that
come from plants or fungi, not synthetic drugs like LSD or MDMA, also
known as ecstasy.

After the vote, nearly 100 supporters rose from their chairs, clapped
and cheered loudly.

"I don't have words, I could cry," said Nicolle Greenheart, the
co-founder of Decriminalize Nature Oakland. "I'm thrilled. I'm glad
that our communities will now have access to the healing medicines and
we can start working on healing our communities."

Councilman Noel Gallo said he introduced the resolution to the council
after he was approached by Decriminalize Nature Oakland, a community
group promoting natural psychedelics for mental health and overall
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The resolution is a step toward legitimizing use of the plants for
medicinal purposes, he said.

"My grandmother took care of us," Gallo said. "She didn't go to
Walgreens to heal us spiritually and physically, she did it out of
plants we use as Native Americans."

Councilman Loren Taylor added an amendment that stated the approved
resolution does not authorize commercial sales or manufacturing of the
plants, possessing or distributing in schools or driving under the

The amendment also clarifies that people dealing with depression or
post-traumatic stress disorder should first see a doctor. It also
stated that the use of natural psychedelics should be used in small
doses for inexperienced users and "don't go solo."

Taylor said he worked with the Oakland Police Department and
Decriminalize Nature Oakland to write the amendment.

More than 100 people crammed into the City Council chambers. Some
people held bright, green signs that read "Decriminalize Nature."

Dozens of people spoke in support of the resolution and said that it
helped them deal with their depression.

"I wasn't really living a life, I was so disconnected," one woman
said. "It was hard for me to survive everyday. It has helped me reach
deep inside my soul and helped cure damage that had been done to me."

Some people said that the psychedelic plants helped them with

"It was the most beautiful and life-changing thing that ever happened
to me," said a man, adding that he struggled with a heroin addiction.

Council president Rebecca Kaplan thanked the speakers for sharing
their "deep and personal and profound" stories.

In the past year, Oakland police investigated 19 cases involving the
use of mushrooms containing psilocybin.

"We want to be able to provide another medical service... to be able
to help us at home and that is what this is all about," Gallo said
before last week's public safety committee. "And it's nothing new.
It's been happening for thousands of years in different countries, in
different spiritual backgrounds."

The Oakland measure would decriminalize mushrooms containing
psilocybin, as well as the psychedelic plants ayahuasca, cacti and
iboga. The measure is part of a wave of decriminalization efforts
nationwide that some proponents call a "psychedelic

A ballot measure in Denver to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms
was approved earlier this month. Other statewide initiatives are
brewing in California and Oakland.
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