The resolution grants an immediate halt on investigations and prosecution of those currently using the drugs. The resolution also applies to psychedelics deriving from other plants, including the psychedelic plants ayahuasca, cacti and iboga.
However, LSD, MDMA and other synthetic drugs remain illegal.
The move follows Denver voters who approved the decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms a month ago. As a result, criminal penalties for those over 21 who use or possess magic mushrooms have been scrapped.
Co-founder of Decriminalize Nature Oakland Nicolle Greenheart said:
“I don’t have words, I could cry … I’m thrilled. I’m glad that our communities will now have access to the healing medicines and we can start working on healing our communities.”
The resolution calls for Oakland state and federal lobbyists to push a decriminalization agenda, and for police to halt search and seizure procedures. The resolution also states that the Alameda County district attorney’s officials are to immediately “cease prosecution of persons involved in the use of Entheogenic Plants or plant-based compounds” that are presently listed as Schedule I substances.
Councilman Noel Gallo supported the resolution, introducing it for people’s mental health and wellbeing, stating the move as a positive step toward legitimizing plants for medicinal use.
“My grandmother took care of us. She didn’t go to Walgreens to heal us spiritually and physically, she did it out of plants we use as Native Americans.”
Prior to passing legislation, the Oakland City Council listened to the testimonies of those explaining how psilocybin helped them deal with depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health disorders, reported to USA Today.
Despite the new resolution, an amendment specifies that commercial sale or manufacture of the plants, possession or distribution in schools, or driving while under the influence of the psychedelic drugs remains unauthorized.
The amendment also stipulated medical advice should first be consulted before potential users engage in psychedelics to assist with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“We want to be able to provide another medical service… to be able to help us at home and that is what this is all about … And it’s nothing new. It’s been happening for thousands of years in different countries, in different spiritual backgrounds,” Councilman Noel Gallo explained.
Similar efforts are currently underway in Iowa, along with efforts to place the legalization of psilocybin on the Oregon ballot.