Last week, the City Council of Oakland, California passed a historic resolution decriminalizing the use, possession, and cultivation of natural, plant-derived psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and peyote. The resolution prevents authorities from using city funding to investigate or prosecute anyone who chooses to grow or use natural psychedelics, but any sales of these substances remain strictly prohibited.
The fine details of decriminalization seem to be lost on many of the city's residents, who have been bombarding local pot dispensaries with calls asking when they can score some shrooms. Debby Goldsberry, CEO of licensed Oakland cannabis shop Magnolia Wellness, told Marijuana Moment that her store has been “receiving calls from our members and interested community members, wondering if the dispensary was or would carry these products.”
“Selling mushrooms would violate both our local and state licenses, and it would put us squarely in the crossfire of federal laws that treat these plant medicines as felonies,” Goldsberry explained. “Magnolia Wellness, while appreciating their medicinal value, would never put our company, our member base or those in the community who depend on us for support at risk in order to provide medicinal mushrooms.”
Last month, the city of Denver passed a similar resolution decriminalizing the possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms. Decriminalize Denver, the group that led the decriminalization campaign, spent several months educating voters about the difference between decriminalization and full legalization. In contrast, the Oakland measure was introduced and voted into effect within a relatively short timeframe, leaving some people confused about the actual implications of the resolution.
“I think that in terms of Oakland, it’s up to them to make it very clear that people can’t buy this right now,” Kevin Matthews, campaign director for Decriminalize Denver, said to Marijuana Moment. “I think it’s important for people to keep in mind that this is a people-powered movement, not a profit-powered movement. We have some time before we should even start considering any kind of recreational sales. That could derail the whole damn movement.”
Decriminalize Nature, the group that advocated for Oakland's new resolution, have said that they do not support attempts to commercialize plant-based psychedelics. Regardless, the City Council has indicated that legal, regulated psychedelic sales could indeed become a reality.
“Now we have to agree on what’s being regulated and identify a pathway for distribution and sales,” City Council member Noel Gallo, who sponsored the measure, said. “Like with marijuana, we have to establish a process.”