Oakland is 2nd city in US to decriminalize magic mushrooms

Bay Area

Oakland is now the second city in the U.S. to decriminalize magic mushrooms. 

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to decriminalize the adult use and possession of magic mushrooms and other psychoactive plants. 

The decision came after speakers testified that the mushrooms helped them overcome illnesses such as depression and drug addiction. 

Janis Phelps is the director at the Center of Psychedelic Therapies and Research in San Francisco. It’s the first accredited university program teaching psychedelic assisted therapy. 

“I see in the research, people report outcome and insights that we work very hard in psychiatry and psychology to get from our clients,” she said.

Over the last five years, the program has been training doctors, nurses and other therapists to work with psilocybin — more commonly known as magic mushrooms. 

“With psilocybin, the researchers at UCLA, NYU, John Hopkins have been discovering several fascinating outcomes with their patient,” she said.

Right now, research of psilocybin is being done by the FDA, but its still classified as a Schedule 1 drug. 

Critics of Oakland’s decriminalization feel the move could increase misuse, something Phelp’s worries about too.

“They’d be rightly concerned because of problems with these medicines when they’re not done in a best practice way,” Phelps said. “There are reports of people who were not stable to begin with, or mixing in a psychoactive substance with alcohol. [A] bad thing to do.” 

She did say, when used properly, research shows the outcomes for people dealing with addiction, depression and PTSD can be overwhelmingly positive. 

“These medicines enable people to navigate through their own psychic material in a very unique way. It helps people witness their hurt and trauma from a different perspective.”

Magic mushrooms are still illegal under both federal and state laws. 

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