Being Mindful About Changing Psychedelic Policy in California


Nov 10, 2020

Psilocybin mushrooms being placed into a pill box, photo by microgen/Getty Images

Photo by microgen/Getty Images

This commentary originally appeared on The Sacramento Bee on November 10, 2020.

Oregon voters last week approved a ballot initiative legalizing use of psilocybin—the psychedelic component of “magic” mushrooms—in a therapeutic setting.

Although some western U.S. cities, including Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz, had effectively removed threat of arrest or prosecution for possession of mushrooms last year, Oregon's statewide vote could signal things to come in California.

This policy route—from city ordinances to statewide voter referenda and from decriminalization of possession toward licensed therapeutic use—should generate some flashbacks here. It's very similar to how cannabis policy changed. That decades-long evolution paved the way for legalized commercial cannabis, which has now been approved in 15 states.…

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Bryce Pardo is policy researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. Beau Kilmer is director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

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