Santa Cruz Is Decriminalizing Magic Mushrooms

It's the latest victory for psychedelic-reform advocates in the U.S.
Santa Cruz decriminalizes magic mushrooms.
Photo by via Photofusion/Contributor 

On Tuesday night, the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously voted to decriminalize a wide range of psychedelics. The resolution would make "the personal use and personal possession of Entheogenic Plants and Fungi," like magic mushrooms and ayahuasca, one of the lowest priorities for police in the city.

Justin Cummings, the city's mayor, initially pushed the Santa Cruz legislation when he was still the Democratic vice mayor.


Scattered movements to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other psychedelic substances have proven successful in recent years as public perception of these drugs has shifted. Even presidential contenders, such as Andrew Yang, have cited their therapeutic and medical benefits in treating things like post-traumatic stress disorder, drug addiction, and depression. Last September, Johns Hopkins University in Maryland opened up a dedicated center to psychedelic research. Massive donors—notably the Dr. Bronner's soap guyare pumping more and more money into the cause, too.

Santa Cruz's decision is just the latest victory for psychedelic-reform advocates in the United States. Last May, Denver made history when it decriminalized psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, in a nailbiter of a ballot measure that news organizations preemptively reported wouldn't pass. (It did, with 50.6 percent of the vote.) Oakland effectively decriminalized magic mushrooms a month later. Other major cities across the country, like Washington, D.C., are pushing for similar policy changes and have recently gained traction.

There are also dual movements in both California and Oregon to decriminalize or legalize them statewide. Just last week, a representative in Vermont filed a bill to decriminalize a number of psychedelic substances. If the legislature is onboard, it would be the first state to do so.

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