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Santa Cruz to consider decriminalizing psychoactive plants and fungi


UPDATE: 11/12/2019 - 10:27 P.M. The city of Santa Cruz has referred the matter to the Public Safety Committee

PREVIOUS STORY: The city of Santa Cruz will consider decriminalizing psychoactive plants and fungi.

Vice Mayor Justin Cummings, Council member Sandy Brown and Council member Drew Glover will recommend a resolution making the investigation and arrest of people who have certain types of psychoactive plants or fungi or who grow them, either for personal use or clinical research, one of the lowest priorities for the city.

Council members have spent time behind the scenes discussing the plan with supporters.

However, it's not without its criticisms from members of the public.

"They're just not meant for everyday recreational use," says Santa Cruz resident, David Pullick.

Pullick admits to having used "shrooms" when he was younger, but says he grew out of it.

His concern now, with this possible resolution from the city, is that it will lead Santa Cruz on a path it might regret in the long-run.

"Magic mushrooms have that side-effect where you lose concept of reality in your brain," says Pullick. "It could lead to someone ending up with mental health problems."

Supporters of the resolution, however, couldn't disagree more.

"Every single substance that we're decriminalizing with this resolution is non-lethal and not addictive," says supporter Sean Cutler.

Cutler is a part of "Decriminalize Santa Cruz," which is a group that is spear-heading much of the presentation council members are hearing Tuesday night.

The report says recent studies have shown the plants and fungi can help treat anxiety, substance use, addiction, cluster headaches, neurodegeneration, obsessive-compulsive disorder and treatment-resistant depression and that use of them reduces the rates of domestic violence and recidivism.

Julian Hodge says he's used some form of psychoactive plant and that it has become beneficial to him in his everyday life.

"They've helped me so much with my depression and anxiety as well as my PTSD," says Hodge.

The report said decriminalizing use and growing of psychoactive plants and fungi will give residents the opportunity to use them for medicinal or spiritual reasons.

Those recommending decriminalization said one of the goals is to restore the city's relationship with nature and that psychoactive practices have a long history around the world.

The decriminalization would apply to the psychoactive plants and fungi on the federal Schedule 1 list.

Crime / Santa Cruz / Santa Cruz County

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

Victor Guzman

Victor Guzman is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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