SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — As soon as Tuesday, Santa Cruz could become the latest municipality to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.
It is a movement that is currently expanding in many directions, and some of them are making even the advocates a little uncomfortable.
“I got a lot of hate emails,” said Scarlet Ravin. “I got a lot of people threatening me when they found out I got this trademark.”
Psilocybin is the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms. Sonoma County entrepreneur Ravin blew some minds when she trademarked it.
“Our brand-name is Psilocybin, thus the trademark,” explained Ravin. “There will be no psilocybin in our box of chocolates, which people are finding very confusing.”
In stead, the chocolates come with a book.
“Teaching people about plant medicine, psychedelics, spiritual evolution,” said Ravin.
Whatever the motives, some are skeptical.
“Should we be putting intellectual trademarks on these molecules that are growing naturally in our backyard?” asked Athonia Cappelli, a member of Decriminalize Nature.
That group is working to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in Santa Cruz. She is not part of the contingent firing off angry emails, but Cappelli finds the trademark potentially problematic.
“Our general stance is that these plants should be a public commons,” said Cappelli.
Right or wrong, the trademarking of “Psilocybin” has tapped into broad fears that the end of prohibition will make these substances vulnerable to commercial interests.
“I would say it doesn’t deserve to be illegal,” responded Ravin.
Legality, however, might present challenges as well.
“Big business will see this as an opportunity,” said Cappelli. “And maybe big Pharma will see it and they’re going to swoop in and maybe make things difficult for all of us.”
So from ancient ritual, to concerts in the Haight, and now to research labs across the country, psychedelic drugs have passed through a number of realms. The next one isn’t far away.
“It seems like things are changing in a big way,” said Cappelli of the current psychedelic movement.
As for Santa Cruz, city council members will take up the issue Tuesday. It has the support of the mayor and is expected to pass.