Psychedelics activists in Oakland, California have unveiled an initiative that seeks to allow Oakland City residents to legally use different entheogenic substances during plant medicine healing ceremonies.
The measure is the result of the work done by the group Decriminalize Nature, the same group which was behind the initiative that saw the decriminalization of plant-based psychedelics like magic mushrooms and ayahuasca. This new measure was submitted to Noel Gallo (D), the same Councilmember who sponsored the successful measure to remove psychedelic plants and fungi from the list of top law enforcement priorities in the city.
It is interesting to note that the psychedelics activists embarked on plans for regulating the use of entheogenic substances in plant medicine ceremonies as soon as the motion to decriminalize these substances was passed by the Oakland City Council.
This new proposal doesn’t have any provision for the legal sale of psilocybin and ayahuasca. Instead, it suggests that the city sets up a pilot program running for two years. The pilot program will be used to study how effective providing legal protections to facilitators and community members who take part in the plant medicine healing ceremonies can be.
Decriminalize Nature is putting emphasis on community-based approaches to entheogenic medicine since there are concerns that commercial entities could dominate and exploit the industry at the expense of ordinary city residents.
Carlos Plazola, the chair of Decriminalize Nature, says that vulnerable community members aren’t getting the mental health treatment that they need, and that the COVID-19 pandemic together with the economic hardships it has triggered have further worsened the situation.
He adds that the initiative they have handed over is intended to bring the ancient wisdom on using plant medicine as therapy for mental health conditions to the forefront of modern society by combining modern science with these traditional approaches whose success has been tested for centuries.
The proposed measure suggests that only people who are 21 or older can be licensed to be entheogenic facilitators. In addition, the person has to be a resident of Oakland, and they need a recommendation from a community organization taking part in the plant medicine healing ceremonies pilot program. Individuals should also have experience of at least five years if they are to be licensed as plant medicine healing ceremony facilitators.
The participants and facilitators will be entitled to legal defense by the City Attorney in case those individuals are arrested or prosecuted for any alleged offense arising from their involvement in the plant medicine healing ceremonies pilot program.
It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of psychedelics companies like Pure Extracts Corp. on this new development in Oakland, California.
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