The City of Santa Cruz joins the shroom-boom

The shroom-boom continues to develop as the City of Santa Cruz is the latest to decriminalize magic mushrooms.

Decriminalization is the first step towards legalization, sale and investment, and the California city joins Oakland and Denver, and there have been some rumblings in Oregon about potentially following suit.

“This move is an exciting step toward the safe and legal commercialization of psilocybin mushrooms. With increasing awareness around the therapeutic potential of mushrooms, I expect to see this trend continuing, and we are preparing to meet the potential future demand for these products with Flourish Mushroom Labs,” said Penny White, the CEO of Yield Growth (BOSS.C) which has been heavily involved in the burgeoning shroom-space.


The impetus towards decriminalization has been underway since days after the legalization of cannabis in 2017, and now the California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative is putting their best political foot forward towards getting psilocybin decriminalization throughout California. The measure states that adults 18 years and older would be allowed to possess and cultivate fungi for personal use under the proposal. The California Department of Food and Agriculture would be responsible for implementing the system, issuing licenses to psilocybin businesses and regulating the market.

The initiative also provides room for research institutions, which would be allowed to conduct clinical studies into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, and licensed healthcare professionals could research and utilize the substance in treatment.

The proposal states:

“Psilocybin Mushroom-assisted psychotherapy may be delivered by qualified and licensed practitioners. Therapy may be provided by mental health professionals who have obtained specialized training in psychedelic-assisted therapy and a license to administer Psilocybin for specific indications.”

Advocates will need to collect 623,212 registered voter signatures to get the initiative on the 2020 ballot.

California isn’t alone in this quest to decriminalize psilocybin. Activists in roughly 100 cities across the United States are hoping to replicate Santa Cruz’s resolution to decriminalize certain psychedelic substances through both ballot initiatives and legislative action at the local level.

Some of the cities involved. |

High profile politicians have gotten on board with the shroom-boom, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez filing legislation to remove a legal barrier impeding scientists from studying the medical benefits of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA.

Even democratic hopeful Andrew Yang has weighed in on the matter on twitter.

Psilocybin mushrooms are presently legal in:

  • The Bahamas
  • Brazil
  • Samoa
  • Netherlands
  • Jamaica
  • British Virgin Islands, where it’s not enforced, and therefore defacto legal

Medical uses

“With more dollars being put behind studying mushrooms for therapeutic use, I expect we will see more and more action to decriminalize psilocybin. We believe we are at the forefront of a true renaissance in therapeutic, plant-based medicine,” said White.

Johns Hopkins received a $17 million donation to study psilocybin as a treatment for disorders like anorexia, opioid addiction, Alzheimer’s, chronic Lyme disease, PTSD and alcohol addiction in late 2019.

There’s still a considerable uphill battle to fight before the shroom-boom starts to resemble what’s going on in the cannabis space, but this looks like a promising start.

—Joseph Morton

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