California is only a few months away from their long-awaited January 1st legalization of adult use cannabis, but one person already has their eyes set on decriminalizing something new: psilocybin. Commonly known as magic mushrooms, a mayoral candidate near the Bay Area is collecting signatures to put psilocybin decriminalization on the ballot.
Kevin Saunders, a mayoral candidate for the city of Marina, has filed a proposal. If he can obtain 365,880 voter signatures before April 2018, the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative will be put on a statewide ballot, seeking to decriminalize the possession, growing, or selling of the fungus with potent psychedelic effects.
Saunder’s reasoning is simple: the therapeutic benefits of the psychedelic can help a lot of people in a difficult time. “The world is really hurting and everybody is at a loss about what’s going on right now with Trump, Brexit, the refugee crisis and everything else,” said Saunders. “I’m at a loss at what to do politically, but the only thing I feel like we could do is get psilocybin into more people’s hands.”
That might sound a big free love, but there is some reasoning behind it. “It deflates the ego and strips down your own walls and defenses and allows you to look at yourself in a different light,” he said, adding: “It could allow people to figure out what to do and could revolutionize the way we treat those with depression, addiction, and cluster headaches.”
For Saunders, it’s personal: he claims that a profound experience with psilocybin helped him move past a debilitating heroin addiction in 2003. “I got to the root of why I made a conscious decision to become a heroin addict. I’ve been clean almost 15 years.”
This isn’t the only effort to make psilocybin more accessible, either: a couple in Oregon is pushing to have a vote in 2020 on the issue, with the goal of being the first state to legalize.