California Could Be the First State to Legalize Magic Mushrooms

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notsofasteddie
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California Could Be the First State to Legalize Magic Mushrooms

Post by notsofasteddie » Tue 29th Aug 2017 11:35 pm

California Could Be the First State to Legalize Magic Mushrooms


by psmith,
August 27, 2017


Image
The California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative has been filed with state officials.
(Greenoid/Flickr)


This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

It could be up to California voters to make the state the first in the nation to allow for the use and sale of psilocybin, the mind-altering component of magic mushrooms.

On Friday, Kevin Saunders, a candidate for mayor in the Monterrey County town of Marina, filed the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative with the state attorney general's office. The initiative would exempt people 21 and over from state criminal penalties for using, possessing, cultivating, transporting, and selling psilocybin.

Filing an initiative is just the first step, though. The measure must be submitted for public comment for 30 days and then given a circulating title and summary by the attorney general's office before it is approved for signature gathering. If and when it is approved, campaigners would then have to gather some 365,880 valid voter signatures to be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

Saunders told the Los Angeles Times that psilocybin helped him get over an addiction to heroin a decade ago. "I think we're seeing something that could literally heal our brothers and sisters," he said. "We're talking about real cutting-edge stuff."

Using the initiative process, California became the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. And while it wasn't the first state to legalize marijuana via the initiative process -- Colorado and Washington led the way in 2012 -- the state legalized recreational marijuana via an initiative last year.

The initiative and referendum process has been criticized as inflexible, circumventing planning, and relying on an uninformed electorate, and it is also open to criticism as a tool for corporate interests. But it has proven an invaluable tool for advancing the cause of drug reform in the face of state legislatures resistant to change.

All eight states that pioneered marijuana legalization did so through the initiative process. No state has yet legalized marijuana through the legislative process, though some appear close. And the pioneering medical marijuana states all did it through the initiative process as well. After California approved it in 1996, it was five years before Hawaii became the first state to okay it legislatively.

California may again be poised to break down the walls of prohibition -- this time with natural psychedelics


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notsofasteddie
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Re: California Could Be the First State to Legalize Magic Mushrooms

Post by notsofasteddie » Sun 19th Nov 2017 08:26 pm

Magic Mushroom Legalization Effort Gets Green Light to Move Forward

Dennis Romero
November 7, 2017

Image
This fungus could land you in jail.
Stefan Böhm Fotografie/Flickr


A proposal to legalize the psychedelic drug popularly known as magic mushrooms recently received a green light to move forward with the signature-gathering process. California's attorney general just approved a "circulating title and summary" that allows organizers to gather voter endorsements.

"We're very excited," says Kevin P. Saunders, a mayoral candidate in Marina, who co-authored the proposed state initiative. "We see this as a civil rights issue."

Saunders and supporters have to turn in 365,880 valid voter signatures by April 30 in order to make the statewide ballot next year, according to the Secretary of State. That's a steep ask for such a grassroots effort. Since the late 1980s, only one voter initiative has made the ballot without the help of professional signature gatherers. Organizers of the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative admit they don't have the $3 million or so it would take to get those pros into grocery store parking lots.

Like other dreamers before them, backers of legalizing psilocybin believe that volunteers or perhaps a whale of a donor will help push this initiative over the top. "Everything except actual money is coming our way," Saunders says. "We're one big donation away from being able to do this."

The measure, if approved by voters, would "decriminalize use, possession, sale, transport, or cultivation of psilocybin (a hallucinogenic compound) by persons at least 21 years of age," according to a summary published by the secretary of state.

The nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst's Office determined recently that legalizing ’shrooms could save taxpayers a few million dollars in prosecution and incarceration costs while possibly raising a few million more in taxes on legitimate sales of the drug.

So far, however, some of the drug decriminalization organizations that helped to legalize recreational cannabis do not appear to be getting on board with this effort. Saunders thinks it's personal — retribution for some of the political views he describes as "alt-left."

"I'm willing to look them in the eye and say, 'I need your help,'" he says.

Dale Gieringer of the Drug Policy Forum of California says he personally supports mushroom legalization, but that organizers of the initiative have not laid out the case for psilocybin the way marijuana reformers had done for decades. While medical marijuana's positive attributes have contributed to public support for legalization, the same can't be said for mushrooms.

Research last year, for instance, showed some promise for using psilocybin to treat post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) patients. But that's not widely known among voters, Gieringer says.

"Organizers have a lot of work cut out for them if they're going to convince the public this is beneficial," he says.



LAweekly

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