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In Surprise Move, San Francisco Unanimously Decriminalizes Psychedelics Like Magic Mushrooms And Ayahuasca In The City

The text of the resolution further indicates that no municipal resources would be utilized to investigate concerns pertaining to the use and distribution of the psychedelics that were previously listed.

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At a meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco overwhelmingly approved a motion to legalize hallucinogenic substances including psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca.

According to CBS News, the measure, which is sponsored by Supervisors Dean Preston and Hillary Ronen, asks for city criminal justice resources to not be spent on individuals who are found to be in possession of or using psychedelic substances.

It also requests that penalties for possessing or using entheogenic plants be considered “amongst the lowest priority.” In addition to this, the resolution calls for the legalization of activities using entheogenic plants on both the state and federal levels.

Because the city’s Police Department has not spelled out its policy on the use of entheogens in a clear and concise manner, people who use them may still be at some risk of being arrested or persecuted.

There is a rising movement throughout the United States to legalize some or all entheogens, such as mescaline from certain cacti, the root bark of the iboga plant, and psilocybin from some mushrooms, since some people believe that these substances possess medicinal and spiritual powers, CBS News adds.

The motion highlights a number of studies that demonstrate the potential benefits that these medicines may have for those who suffer from mental health problems as well as those who are recovering from an addiction to methamphetamine or opioids.

In doing so, San Francisco is following in the footsteps of other jurisdictions such as Oakland, Santa Cruz, Denver, and Seattle, amongst others, that have begun the process of decriminalizing these plants and fungus.

“San Francisco joins a growing list of cities and countries that are taking a fresh look at these plant-based medicines, following science and data, and destigmatizing their use and cultivation. Today’s unanimous vote is an exciting step forward,” Preston said in a statement Tuesday.

The passing of the proposal closely followed the failure of a bill proposed by state Senator Scott Wiener to legalize the possession and use of tiny dosages of some psychedelic substances including MDMA, LSD, and ketamine in the state of California. 

Senate Bill 519 was amended to require just an investigation to be carried out within the next twelve months. Wiener has said that he intends to present the measure once again in the year 2023. The bill would effectively see those drugs legalized state wide.

After the decriminalization provision of his bill was withdrawn in August, Wiener issued a statement in which he expressed his disappointment. “Psychedelic drugs, which are not addictive, have incredible promise when it comes to mental health and addiction treatment. We are not giving up,” he said.

The city supervisors unveiled an ambitious plan on Tuesday to combat the surge in deadly overdoses in the city. One of the strategies included in the plan is the use of safe consumption locations. Recently, local officials have been advocating for more drug policy change.

In reaction to the rejection by Governor Gavin Newsom of authorizing a safe consumption pilot program in major communities throughout the state of California, Mayor London Breed and others said that they will proceed with harm reduction programs nonetheless.

San Francisco has played a prominent role in the movement to legalize cannabis throughout the country historically.

 An advocacy organization called Decriminlize Nature that is working to bring an end to the war against entheogenic plants said that there is a “unmet need” for those who suffer from addiction, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health illnesses to utilize these plants for medical reasons.

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