Arcata legalizes the use of psychedelics

On Oct. 6, the City of Arcata unanimously passed Resolution 212-17, legalizing Entheogenic plants and fungi.

Entheogenic plants and fungi are psychoactive, hallucinogenic substances that are used in religious, spiritual, and ritualistic practices. They have also shown to help with depression, addiction, anxiety, diabetes, neurogenesis, and PTSD.

What led to the passing of this resolution?
The organization Decriminalize NatureHumboldt has been actively pushing for the decriminalization of entheogenic plants. The lead organizer Danielle Daniel has been tabling at the Arcata Farmers market since June.

“From there we got so much community support,” said Daniel. “We got people to start emailing the Arcata City Council because some City Council members were ignoring our emails. But with the voice of the community, they can see that the community is into this and began a conversation with us.”

On July 21, the Arcata city council voted on the resolution that resulted in a split vote. Daniel said “The reason half said no is that they thought it was moving too fast, and it was moving really fast.” From July 21 to Oct. 6, DNH worked on educating the public. They held two events where they played films about entheogenic plants and fungi as well as inviting guest speakers to share their experiences.

Who can possess it?
People who are 21 and older can be in possession of them. There is no card or medical exemption needed when in possession of entheogenic plants and fungi in the City of Arcata. When a person under the age of 21 is caught in possession, use or cultivation, the resolution’s exemption will be considered after Arcata Police Department completes an investigation.

It should be noted that in Resolution 212-17 it states that “this resolution does not authorize or enable any of the following activities: commercial sales or manufacturing of these plants and fungi, possessing or distributing these substances in schools, driving under the influence of these substances or causing a public disturbance or jeopardizing public safety resulting from the influence of these substances.”

How to get Entheogenic plants and fungi?
Currently, there is no way to legally buy entheogenic plants and fungi. According to Daniel, they must be gifted or foraged in the forest.

In Humboldt County, the only type of psilocybin mushrooms that grows naturally is Psilocybe Samuiensis, according to Jack Murphy, Humboldt State University lecturer.

“I have found it a few times. I would say it is easy to identify if you are already a mushroom identifier,” said Murphy. “If you are not experienced in identifying mushrooms you can make some mistakes that can be quite dangerous because Psilocybe Samuiensis is similar to another deadly poisonous mushroom.”

DNH offers mushroom identification workshops, discussion panels, and educational forums about the therapeutic benefits of entheogenic plants. More information about their events can be found on the Facebook page: Decriminalize Nature Humboldt.

What does this mean for HSU students?
In a statement to El Leñador about resolution 212-17, UPD Chief of Police Anthony Morgan said, “Humboldt State University is a drug-free campus according to the Drug-Free Workplace Act, and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment. As a state institution and member of the CSU system, we will continue to operate under campus rules and regulations. The passing of resolution 212-17 does not affect campus operations.”

This means that resolution 212-17 will not change HSU’s drug policy on campus or in the dorms. Anyone in possession of entheogenic plants or fungi will face “disciplinary action which may include expulsion or termination of employment and may be referred for criminal prosecution and/or required to participate in appropriate treatment programs,” according to HSU’s drug policy.

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