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San Francisco to Decriminalize Psychedelics

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Sep 08, 2022   

Image credit: Maarten van den Heuvel via Unsplash

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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously voted to decriminalize psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

The resolution, which the board agreed to on Tuesday, September 6, urges the city’s law enforcement to treat any adult use of such plant and fungal substances with “the lowest priority”.

If enacted, the measure would decriminalize possession of up to 2 grams (g) of DMT, 15 g of ibogaine, 0.01 g of LSD, 2 g of psilocybin, 2 g of psilocin, and 4 g of MDMA. There would be no penalties or fines for possession below those limits for people aged 21 and over 21.

The motion also urges the State of California and the federal government to decriminalize “entheogens” (another word to describe plant and fungal material that people use for psychedelic purposes) and goes on to list some of the medical benefits the drugs have been known to provide.

“Substance abuse, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress symptoms, chronic depression, severe anxiety, end-of-life anxiety, grief, diabetes, cluster headaches, and other conditions are plaguing our community,” the motion reads, “and that the use of Entheogenic Plants have been shown to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these afflictions via scientific and clinical studies and within continuing traditional practices, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth.”

In several studies, entheogens like psilocybin have been shown to help treat several mental health conditions, most notably depression. One recent paper found that the magic mushroom chemical could reduce a person’s depression for at least a year after their initial psychotherapy sessions.

San Francisco is the latest in a growing line of US cities and regions that have legislated psychedelic decriminalization.

In California, the cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz have already enacted psychedelics decriminalization.

Last October, Seattle became the largest city in the country to decriminalize the use of entheogens such as psilocybin and mescaline.

The year before that, in November 2020, Oregon became the first state in the country to decriminalize the possession of psychedelics through a new measure decriminalizing the possession of minor amounts of all currently illegal drugs. At the same time, the state also specifically legalized the use of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes.


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