California Activists Seek Decriminalization of Magic Mushrooms

Magic MushroomsWith the 2020 ballot fast approaching, California activists are keenly working towards securing a measure that would decriminalize psilocybin, also commonly known as ‘magic mushrooms.’

Together with the required $2,000 fee, an advocacy group by the name of Decriminalize California submitted ballot language to the state attorney general’s office in September. Now the activist group awaits approval from the attorney general on both the official measure title and summary it submitted. Such a response is typically granted within 65 days, and if approved, the measure will be green lit to begin seeking signatures.

At that point, within 180 days of receiving the attorney general’s approval of title and summary, the Decriminalize California group must collect 623,212 valid signatures before the measure qualifies for the California ballot.

If you need legal representation for possession, growing, using, or distributing psilocybin mushrooms, our Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense attorneys are here for you.

The Proposed Measure
The California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative, as the proposed statutory amendment is called, seeks to revise state laws surrounding psilocybin mushrooms. Specifically, it aims to decriminalize the “personal possession, storage, use, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution in personal possession amounts without profit, transport, and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms” for those aged 18 and older.

The proposal indicates it also applies to anyone under the age of 18, so long as they have parental or guardian consent. Without that stipulation, the toughest punishment for a minor charged with a psilocybin offense would involve compulsory entry into a drug education program. The measure also specifies that convictions for minors would not be recorded on permanent records.

With regard to the list of schedule I controlled substances, the measure proposes that a California code update should include a new clause alongside ‘psilocybin.’ Under the proposed amendment, psilocybin would remain a schedule I narcotic, but only when the psychedelic is distributed to minors by adults (with or without profit), and also with regard to those who distribute more than personal use amounts for profit to adults. Becoming intoxicated by psilocybin mushrooms in public remains prohibited.

The initiative also highlights the fact that psilocybin has already been decriminalized in other locations such as Denver and Oakland, and notes a variety of research outcomes surrounding the therapeutic capacity of magic mushrooms.

Interestingly, one such study found that the use of psilocybin correlated with a reduction in likelihood of past year theft, assault, property crime, and violent crime. Meanwhile, long-term use of other illicit drugs saw an increase in the likelihood of those same outcomes.

Representatives for Decriminalize California have stated the group currently aims to raise $1.5 million to fund the campaign over the next six months.

Legal Implications
One strong argument in support of decriminalizing magic mushrooms is that it will shift law enforcement time away from pursuing non-violent offenses, and enable the criminal justice system to focus on apprehending hard criminals posing a real threat to public safety.

The change will also reduce resources and funds spent on upholding possession laws, as well as processing possession cases. Not to mention no longer having to send people through the criminal justice system for a victimless crime.

Research doors are more likely to open too, allowing more opportunities to further demonstrate the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, particularly for those dealing with depression, anxiety, OCD, or alcohol and cocaine addiction, to name a few.

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Additional Resources:
The California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative

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