Colorado last week became the nation’s second state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms. Voters passed Proposition 122 by a majority of 53.6% to 46.4%, a law that will also legalize DMT, ibogaine and mescaline (excluding peyote) for people 21 and older.
While the law does not create a retail system like that in place for marijuana, it does allow citizens to grow and trade magic mushrooms and paves the way for “healing centers” where psychedelics are administered in safe environments. Colorado became the first state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana a decade ago.
In 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize mushrooms with Ballot Measure 109, with voters also approving the decriminalization of hard drugs like meth and heroin with Measure 110. Several cities and Washington DC have decriminalized the psychedelic.
It’s worth noting that although many states have sanctioned cannabis — and now some psychedelics too — they’re still considered illegal under federal law.
So when will magic mushrooms be legal in California?
Efforts to bring psychedelics into the favor of the law to keep up with our western neighbors have been underway for several years in California, but have met with fits and starts.
Senate Act 519
The most promising of the efforts was Senate Bill 519, introduced by Senator Scott Weiner in early 2021, aimed at allowing the possession and use of mushrooms, MDMA and LSD. The bill passed the Senate and Assembly committees, but in August of that year the Appropriations Committee removed large parts of the bill and watered it down into legislation that would only use state funds to set up a working group to analyze the policy.
Sen. Weiner withdrew the law and vowed to reintroduce it next year, stating in a tweet“While I am very disappointed with this outcome, I look forward to reintroducing this law next year and continuing to advocate that it is time to end the war on drugs.”
Nomination: California Psilocybin Initiative
Proponents of legalizing magic mushrooms have also attempted to pass a California law through our voting process. Last year, a group called Decriminalize California aimed to get a proposal called the California Psilocybin Initiative in the 2022 vote, which would have legalized the use and sale of magic mushrooms.
However, they failed to collect enough signatures, citing challenges due to pandemic lockdown measures. They said they would be raising funds to see if they could pay for a signature drive to qualify for the November 2024 election, Marijuana Moment reported, and they have set a timeline on their website.
Cities go their own way
Despite unsuccessful state-level efforts, several cities have passed measures to decriminalize mushrooms, or at least made enforcement the lowest priority of law enforcement.
Oakland was the first when her city council passed a measure in 2019 that decided that no city funds or resources should be used to enforce the criminalization of the use or possession of psychedelic plants. Santa Cruz followed with a similar resolution in 2020 and ArkataCA, home of Cal Poly Humboldt, passed their own version in 2021. In September of this year, the san francisco The Board of Directors also passed a resolution to decriminalize psychedelic plants in their county.
While those seeking full legalization of recreational psychedelics in California may be disappointed by the slow progress at the state level, momentum appears to be building for a change in the law in the near future, so stay tuned.
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