San Francisco joins a movement that’s coming on hard in several other cities and states, decriminalizing “entheogenic plants” like magic mushrooms and ayahuasca, and encouraging research of these for therapeutic purposes.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has not convened since late July, enjoying their annual summer recess. But they returned to their weekly full board meeting duties Tuesday, and one of their votes was a trip.
Vice reports that, in a unanimous vote, the board decriminalized plant-based psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, peyote, and ayahuasca, joining other cities like Oakland, Santa Cruz, Denver, Seattle, and Washington D.C. to decriminalize such drugs.
We are so thrilled to announce that our resolution to decriminalize plants medicines and psilocybin mushrooms passed in San Francisco. May compassion and love prevail here and everywhere! Thank you @DeanPreston and @HillaryRonen for the bravery and intelligence! 🧿🦋✌🏽🌈🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/q3ZANaRQry— Decrim SF (@DecrimSf) September 7, 2022
The move does not technically legalize these drugs, it just discourages law enforcement from arresting and prosecuting people for possession of said drugs. It also acknowledges that these “entheogenic plants” have been proven clinically useful in the treatment of addiction, anxiety, PTSD, and recovery from other synthetic drugs like opioids.
Looking at the actual text of the resolution passed, it urges “City law enforcement agencies that the investigation and arrest of individuals involved with the adult use of entheogenic plants in the Federal Schedule 1 List be amongst the lowest priority for the City and County of San Francisco.” Later in the full legislation, it clarifies that “City resources not be used for any investigation, detention, arrest, or prosecution arising out of alleged violations of state and federal law regarding the use of Entheogenic Plants.”
"The move follows similar resolutions passed in other jurisdictions, including Oakland; Santa Cruz, Calif; Denver; and Washington, D.C. In 2020, Oregon became the first state to fully legalize magic mushrooms for the treatment of mental health issues..." https://t.co/CC6LeKKEKA— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) September 8, 2022
In a statement picked up by KPIX, the measure’s co-sponsor Supervisor Dean Presston said that "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."
The measure does not go as far as state Senator Scott Wiener’s SB-519 bill that would have additionally decriminalized LSD, molly, and DMT. Wiener pulled that bill in late August, though he said in a statement at the time, “I’m optimistic through education and member engagement we can pass this critical legislation next year.”
Decriminalizing plant-based psychedelics is not as culturally extreme a move as the safe-injection and safe-consumption sites that San Francisco seems likely to move forward upon (nor will it have nearly the impact in terms of limiting morbidities and mortalities). But it does normalize and destigmatize an emerging and increasingly accepted form of therapy, so it is — and we mean this in a good way — truly a feel-good measure.
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist