Free the magic mushrooms, arrest Big Pharma

October 3, 2017 Originally published on SFGate

Here is what you most definitely do not do, if you’re storing somewhere around 700 pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms in the living room of your Berkeley house, stacked like manna in large plastic tubs, just waiting to make life better for countless thousands of hippies and hipsters, enlightened seekers and people who like to commune with trees.

You do not start screaming. You do not start yelling at your husband/wife/business partner, right there in your home/mushroom production facility, arguing so loudly that it alarms the neighbors, and they call the police and the police arrive and bang on the door and you finally have to let them in and, whoops, there’s $1 million worth of trippy goodness, sitting right there on the floor, because you really need a garage.

Another lesson? If you are a dealer in large quantities of home-grown magic fungus, do not skip the couple’s counseling. I mean, obviously.

And thus did the Berkeley cops seize all 700 pounds of happy fungus and arrest our bickering young couple, thus yanking a sizable portion of product off the Bay Area hallucinogen market and jacking up the price for, oh, about an hour, given how even that much psilocybin is but a sliver of what Berkeley likely produces every week, and if you could peel back the roof and peer through the walls of every home in the East Bay you will possibly find that magic mushrooms are more populous than smoothies and Birkenstocks and Subarus, combined, because Berkeley.

It’s all sort of sad, isn’t it? And numbly ironic? It very much is.

For one thing, it dovetails – albeit a bit tragically – with the recent news that California might indeed decriminalize psilocybin as soon as next year, assuming the ballot measure Kevin Saunders, a mayoral candidate in Monterey County, submitted to the state, earns enough signatures.

After all, psilocybin’s medicinal qualities are becoming increasingly well documented (not to mention the centuries of evidence from shamans and healers), helpful in treating everything from PTSD to cancer-related death anxiety, various neurological and emotional disorders and which, along with MDMA, gives users in controlled environments a truly precious, life-affirming reconnection to something quite sacred indeed (Self, God, Goddess, soul, the divine, love – call it what you want but don’t call it hippie nonsense because then you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, and should probably take some mushrooms for yourself).

Saunders himself claims that psilocybin helped him kick heroin over a decade ago. And, let us be reminded, it’s fentanyl-laced heroin that’s killing tens of thousands of Americans right now, the ones who’ve been blocked from getting their doctor-overprescribed opioids. See how that works?

There is indeed irony afoot, and it’s vicious. The opioid crisis, the one spurred by shameless pharma companies shoving hundreds of millions of pricey painkillers down the throats of millions of unsuspecting Americans (and now developing countries) and thus co-creating, along with inept, overprescribing doctors, the worst epidemic in our nation’s history, one which is currently killing more Americans every year than the Vietnam war, and rising fast, this crisis could be well helped by the very thing we still dumbly fear and continue to outlaw.

Is it not curious? And ridiculous? And brutally tragic? How we condemn and destroy the natural spiritual enhancer/potential cure, and reward, to the tune of billions of dollars to Big Pharma, the obvious poison?

Mark Morford

About Mark Morford