Capitol Alert

California voters legalized pot. Are ‘shrooms next?

Thurston County narcotics officers cataloged at least 40 pounds of mushrooms during a drug bust at a barn and house northeast of Millersylvania State Park in Washington, Oct. 28, 2005.
Thurston County narcotics officers cataloged at least 40 pounds of mushrooms during a drug bust at a barn and house northeast of Millersylvania State Park in Washington, Oct. 28, 2005. The Olympian

California wasn’t first to the pot legalization party, with last November’s Proposition 64 lagging behind decriminalization measures in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and some other parts of the U.S.

State voters, though, could be the first to legalize psychedelic mushrooms under a recently filed proposal from a former candidate for mayor in the Central Coast city of Marina.

Decriminalizing psilocybin-containing mushrooms for people 21 and over is a natural step after voters’ legalization of pot, said Kevin Saunders, who filed the measure.

“What I want to do is take the shackles off. I want to have an adult conversation,” he said. California voters are ready for that, he added: “Not only are the soccer moms high now, but some of them are taking mushrooms.”

The U.S. government classifies psilocybin as Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s unclear how many Californians take hallucinogenic mushrooms – according to a 2015 survey by the California Mental Health Planning Council, no county listed hallucinogenics as a major abuse problem.

The measure would need 365,880 valid voter signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot. Saunders said a large community of volunteers will help gather signatures. He also hopes the campaign would get help from deep-pocketed groups such as the Drug Policy Alliance.

“We think that things are evolving so quickly and that minds are opening almost daily,” he said.

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