Californians could have an opportunity as soon as next year to make their state the first in the nation to decriminalize psilocybin—a.k.a. psychedelic mushrooms.
Monterrey-area medical marijuana advocate Kevin Saunders and his fiancée, Kitty Merchant, filed a ballot initiative with the state attorney general this past August that would would exempt adults 21 and over from criminal penalties for possession, sale, transport, and cultivation of psilocybin. The campaign still has a long way to go—once (or if) the AG approves the language, organizers must collect 365,880 signatures for the measure to appear on the ballot, and then a majority of voters statewide would have to approve it, but the pair insist they‘re off to a running start.
VICE spoke to Saunders, who is also running for mayor of Marina next year, about the psilocybin proposal. The self-described “ex-junkie semi-intellectual ne’er-do-well” who believes mushrooms “could possibly be alien communication” may not have much of a chance. But, as he says, “these are not normal times.” This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
VICE: Off the bat, tell us about