Santa Cruz votes to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms

DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images
A fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) fungus grows in the western city of Thorigne-Fouillard on November 18, 2013. One of the most iconic and distinctive of fungi, fly agaric, with its red cap and white spots, is renowned for its toxicity and hallucinogenic properties.

The Santa Cruz City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass a resolution decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms in the city.

The resolution states that “the investigation and arrest of individuals involved with the adult possession, use, or cultivation of psychoactive plants and fungi listed on the Federal Schedule 1 list for personal adult use and clinical research [should be] among the lowest priorities for the city of Santa Cruz.”

Denver became the first city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in 2019, and Oakland, Calif., has also decriminalized the substance, a local CBS affiliate reported. 

City Councilman Chris Krohn said in a statement that the “initiative is part of a diversity of strategies taking care of mental health in our community.”

“This resolution ensures that only people 21 and over have access to these plants and the Council has given direction to our Police Department to make it a low priority infraction,” the councilman told ABC News.

“Entheogenic plants offer many in our community a way out of the addictive pharmaceuticals known as opioids,” he continued. “People came forward at last night’s meeting telling of the beneficial effects of how these plants changed their lives.”

Several supporters of the measure brought signs to the Tuesday vote, reading “dare to decriminalize,” “emancipate your mind” and other messages supporting decriminalization.

Drew Glover, another city councilman, told the outlet that people around the world have “respected entheogenic plants and fungi for providing healing, knowledge, creativity and spiritual connection with nature.” 

“With the passing of this resolution Santa Cruz has taken an important step in acknowledging the impact that the war on drugs has had on communities while at the same time giving people the liberty to choose how to address their medical needs, providing a potent tool to address issues like PTSD, addiction, and depression,” Glover said.


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