San Francisco Decriminalises Psychedelics

Liz Filmer
14 Sep 2022

On September 6th, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved decriminalising entheogens, including any of their compounds. This includes psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, and more. Entheogens are the “full spectrum of plants, fungi, and natural materials that can inspire personal and spiritual well-being.”

The resolution doesn’t merely decriminalise the possession of entheogens. It allows “planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with” them. It also does not specify quantity limits. 

“substance abuse, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress symptoms, chronic depression, severe anxiety, end-of-life anxiety, grief, diabetes, cluster headaches, and other conditions are plaguing our community. The use of entheogenic plants and fungi are beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions via scientific and clinical studies and within continuing traditional practices, which can catalyse profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth.”

San Francisco now becomes the fourth city in California to decriminalise psychedelics, following Oakland, Arcata and Santa Cruz. Moreso, over a dozen cities across the United States and the entire state of Oregon, have decriminalised either psilocybin or all entheogens.

“San Francisco joins a growing list of cities and countries looking fresh at these plant-based medicines, following science and data, and destigmatising their use and cultivation. Today’s unanimous vote is an exciting step forward.” -Dean Preston, supervisor for resolution sponsor, Decrim Nature. 

The Board’s vote is also a signal to state legislators in Sacramento, who recently gutted a senate bill that would decriminalise the personal possession of small quantities of psychedelic substances statewide. The bill will likely get reintroduced next year. Local lobbyists have been urged to work in support of decriminalising entheogens at the state and federal levels.

Much like Cannabis, entheogens remain Schedule 1 controlled substances at the federal and state level, allowing police to still legally bring possession or sale charges against a person if they so wish.

State measures like those passed by San Francisco can only go as far as to “urge” police one of the lowest law enforcement priority for the city.” Whether that happens will be left up to SFPD Chief Bill Scott and the city’s controversial new district attorney, Brooke Jenkins, who has vowed to carry out stricter enforcement of drug laws.

Liz Filmer