Oakland continues move to protect entheogen plants – The Leaf Online

Entheogen is a term that refers to psychotropic plants and fungi – such as cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms – that are used for therapeutic, spiritual and sacramental purposes.

An organization called Decriminalize Nature Core Team submitted its final draft of the Oakland Community Healing Initiative Emergency Mental Health Ordinance July 18 to Oakland, California, Councilmember Noel Gallo. Gallo was sponsor of the resolution to decriminalize entheogens, passed with the unanimous approval at the Oakland City Council on June 4, 2019 which was similar to a bill adopted in Denver, Colorado.

The ordinance would effectively create a regulatory framework enabling practitioners and facilitators to receive legal protections under a community-based healing ordinance in exchange for agreeing to abide by safe practice guidelines and principles developed by leaders and experts in plant-based healing ceremonies.

Sign of shifting national attitudes

The proposal builds on momentum from recent efforts to allow psychedelic mushrooms for spiritual and therapeutic use. A 2019 effort to place the question on California’s ballot fell short of the 750,000 signatures needed to assure its place on the ballot, while an Oregon effort is ongoing. Such proposals would have been inconceivable before marijuana legalization measures swept the country.

The program would be largely managed by community-based organizations to ensure participants and facilitators participating in the ceremonies have been screened by leaders of long-standing respected community-based organizations providing services to the formerly incarcerated; victims of violence, trauma, and domestic abuse; the unhoused; those recovering from addiction; and communities impacted by the war on drugs. 

“Members of these vulnerable communities are not receiving adequate mental health services in our country, and now with a global pandemic and increasing economic disparities, the situation is worsening. People have been healing from plant-based group ceremonies for centuries. The solution we’re offering the city

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