Last week, Oakland’s City Council voted unanimously to decriminalize magic mushrooms, making the Bay Area burg the second city in the United States to do so. Unlike the Denver initiative passed in May, Oakland’s resolution will allow people to possess not only psilocybin but also peyote and other psychedelic plants without the added paranoia of being locked up.
Mushroom activist group Decriminalize California sees the win in Oakland as the second beachhead in a long battle toward ending the prohibition of psychedelics on a national level. Next on the tactical front: the entire state of California.
Los Angeles will be home base for Decriminalize California as it begins a campaign to—as the organization’s name suggests—decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in the state for “medicinal, therapeutic, and religious purposes.” In addition to the hub in L.A., it has set up outposts in San Francisco, San Diego, and Irvine to recruit volunteers and mobilize its movement.
The process started in May, when the group submitted a request to the Legal Council of California asking for assistance in drafting its initiative. It faces a steep hill of nearly a million signatures needed to make it on the ballot in 2020; to put that into perspective, a similar initiative failed to find half that support in 2018. Despite the daunting number, Decriminalize California director Ryan Munevar is feeling pretty good about the odds, partly because the group has made L.A. the movement’s focus. “We’re setting up our office in Hollywood because it’s the entertainment capital of the world,” he said over the phone. “Los Angeles County also has the largest concentration of eligible voters and social media influencers in the country.” Influencers, he says, will play a huge role in the campaign.
By now, people with large social media followings are all but essential to any 21st century political campaign, but Decriminalize California is hoping to lean specifically on podcasters.
Published: June 12, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News