The cities of Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California made history this spring by decriminalizing, respectively, psilocybin mushrooms and all federal Schedule I psychedelics. The movement has since picked up steam across the US. However, not all efforts have had equal success.
The activists who helped pass the Decriminalize Nature Oakland resolution next turned their attention to nearly 100 cities across the US and overseas seeking to replicate their success. Filter reported previously on how Oakland activist’s have outsourced their expertise and regulatory language.
Meanwhile, the activists behind Decriminalize Denver rebranded as SPORE and began work on expanding psychedelic decriminalization beyond their city’s borders and to the halls of Congress.
To date, numerous activist groups on both coasts and in the South and Midwest have moved to implement decriminalization of personal use, possession or cultivation of naturally-occurring psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, iboga, or San Pedro and peyote cacti.
This roundup is focused on city-level decriminalization efforts, and is by no means exhaustive. We should also note that there are two statewide efforts underway—to decriminalize in California and to legalize in Oregon. And at the federal level, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has called for decriminalizing psychedelics and funding research.
Filter previously reported on the efforts led by Alexander Williams to advance a Decriminalize Nature resolution through the City Council. Berkeley activists are confident that Oakland’s northern neighbor, a historically liberal bastion, will pass this reform unanimously.
Larry Norris of Entheogenic Research Integration & Education (ERIE) confirmed to Filter that the resolution is “on the agenda” for the Community Health Commission of the Berkeley City Council at its upcoming November 21 meeting. If it passes through that committee, it will then go to a full council vote. Norris estimates the full vote won’t take place until early 2020, given the holiday season.
In the meantime, Bay Area activists are continuing to build public support and education around the issue. “The actions we have taken so far include hosting an information and educational rally, hosting information tables at UC Berkeley, and dialoguing with the community leaders to see where support is needed,” Norris said.
“Historically, Berkeley has had a robust underground [of people providing psychedelic guidance services], so [we hope] by reducing risk through advancing the resolution, those offering support and educational services can feel safer to be more visible to the greater population.”
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