It was a big step for drug policy reformers in California when voters approved a ballot measure to legalize recreational adult use of marijuana.
A similar measure on the 2012 ballot had come up short. Now, a mayoral candidate from Northern California is looking to take it one step further and has submitted a ballot measure that would eliminate criminal penalties for adults 21 and older for possessing, selling, cultivating or transporting psilocybins, known on the street as “magic mushrooms.”
Marina mayoral candidate Kevin Saunders says that hallucinogenic mushrooms helped him quit using heroin and feels like legalizing them is a logical next step after recreational marijuana. The trouble is the stigma that still shrouds the drug. Psilocybins are classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level. These are drugs that the government says have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. It’s the same category where you’ll find marijuana, LSD, and heroin. Some privately-funded studies have shown potential medical benefits in certain cases like treating anxiety in adults with late-stage cancer, but psylocibin’s Schedule I status prevents funding from being allocated to study it at the federal level.
Have you used mushrooms before? Given your experience, would you support the legalization of recreational use of psilocybins? How much research has been done about the potential for psilocybins to have medical benefits?
Dr. Charles Grob, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UCLA and director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center