Oakland may decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms.’ What are they, and will California follow?


Oakland leaders are meeting on Tuesday night to consider decriminalizing so-called “magic mushrooms.”

That would make the Northern California city the second in the United States to allow adults over 21 to possess psilocybin, the ingredient that gives “magic mushrooms” their hallucinogenic effects. Voters in Denver, Colorado, narrowly decided to decriminalize the drug at the polls earlier this month — meaning that, even though it’s still against federal law, it will now be a lower priority for police and prosecutors there.

The Oakland proposal would decriminalize a host of other plant- and fungi-based drugs as well, including ayahuasca, peyote and ibogaine.

But what are the uses for those drugs — and is it possible the entire state of California and other states could be next with decriminalization?

Research has shown that the drug may help nicotine addicts kick a smoking habit, combat post-traumatic stress and improve the psychological outlook of long-term AIDS patients, the San

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