“We’re very excited,” Kevin P. Saunders, a candidate for mayor in Marina, who co-authored the state initiative said. “We see this as a civil rights issue.”
Saunders and his supporters have to turn in a total of 365,880 valid voter signatures by April 30th from registered California voters in 180 days in order to make the statewide ballot next year, according to the Secretary of State. Since the late 1980s, only one voter initiative has made the ballot without the help of paid professionals who seek signatures for government actions.
Organizers of the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative admit they don’t have the $3 million or so it would take to get those pros into grocery store parking lots.
If the number of signatures are received by April 30th, it may appear on the ballot in California’s initiated state statute on November 6, 2018.
The law, if approved by voters, would “decriminalize use, possession, sale, transport, and cultivation of psilocybin by persons at least 21 years of age,” according to a summary published by the secretary of state.
He told High Times this petition-gathering phase will be the most difficult part, but that once the proposal makes it to a ballot he has few concerns:
“We will get the required signatures and this will go straight to the voters. We are confident we can put together a coalition to push us over 51 percent. This is the hard part; the campaign will be the easy part,” Saunders said.
Although pulling the hallucinogenic drug out of the black market might not be as lucrative for California as its recreational pot industry, it would still provide a number of social and economic benefits, according to a fiscal impact statement published by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), High Times reported.
The nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s Office determined recently that legalizing ’shrooms could save taxpayers a few million dollars in prosecution and incarceration costs while possibly raising a few million more in taxes on legitimate sales of the drug.
In a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the agency wrote that the legalization of psilocybin “would reduce costs to the state and local governments by reducing the number of psilocybin offenders incarcerated in state prison and county jail, as well as the number placed under community supervision (such as county probation). In addition, the measure would result in a reduction in state and local costs for the enforcement of psilocybin-related offenses and the handling of related criminal cases in the state court system.”
As of now, magic mushrooms are considered Schedule I drugs according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), along with heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. That means that the DEA considers mushrooms to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical purposes. The active compound in marijuana, THC, is also considered a federal Schedule I drug, despite its decriminalization and legalization in various states.
That’s not the only benefit – magic mushrooms were used as experimental medical treatment in the 1960s, and some researchers are again looking to them for medical purposes. For example, in a pilot study in 2011, mushrooms appeared to have a positive effect on cancer patients with anxiety. In 2016, a study demonstrated their use in treating depression.
Earlier this year Natural Blaze reported that the psychoactive chemical could be a life-saving insect repellent.
A recent YouGov survey found that 63 percent of the American population now supports legalizing psilocybin and using it and other psychoactive substances in modern medicine.
Aaron Kesel goes by AK writes for Natural Blaze & Activist Post, and is the Director of content for Coinivore. He is an independent journalist and researcher you can check out more of his work on Steemit. Find Aaron on Twitter.
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