From "Shrooms" to CalExit: California Could Have a Wild 2018 Ballot

Created: 22 September, 2017
Updated: 21 November, 2022
3 min read

As ballot measure activists gather petitions to put various propositions up for a vote on the 2018 California ballot, a few stand out as -- shall we say -- rather bold.

If they get enough signatures by the deadline, 2018 might have one of the wildest slate of voter initiatives in recent memory. It's as if activists might be thinking:

"Hey, if an extremely foul-mouthed reality television star can get the Republican nomination for president and then actually win... why not my ballot proposition?"

The California Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative could legalize the use, possession, cultivation, sale, and transportation of psilocybin for persons 21 years of age or older.

Psilocybin is the chemical that naturally occurs in certain varieties of mushrooms, informally referred to as "shrooms" or "magic" mushrooms because of the psychedelic experience that results when psilocybin is consumed.

The drug is federally criminalized as a Schedule I substance under the US Controlled Substances Act and California's state Controlled Substances Act.

Yet this hasn't stopped California voters in the past. California pioneered the modern drug policy liberalization movement as the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

Today, 29 states have legalized marijuana and products made from it for medicinal or adult recreational use, in defiance of federal prohibition.

The psilocybin initiative's sponsor, Kevin Saunders says, "It’s a natural progression from marijuana legalization."

The measure is ambitious because it would legalize these varieties of mushrooms and products made from them outright, for any purpose, medical or recreational, without following the now well-worn path of medicinal legalization and then recreational.

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The Los Angeles Times did note recently that, "Two 2016 studies found a dosage of psilocybin helped ease anxiety and depression for some cancer patients."

While the mushroom legalization measure is ambitious, it's not nearly so quixotic - or incendiary - as the Sacramento Bee calls the California Abortion as First-Degree Murder Initiative, which as its title suggests, would criminalize abortion in the state as an act of first-degree murder.

It's safe to say the measure is highly unlikely to pass should it reach the 2018 ballot, and if it did, it would be immediately struck down in federal court under long-standing precedent going back to Roe v. Wade.

It may be hard to believe there's another initiative aiming for the 2018 ballot as unlikely to pass as the California Abortion as First-Degree Murder Initiative, but that might be a fair assessment for the California Sovereign and Autonomous Nation Initiative.

"CalExit" would secede California from the United States and make it an independent and sovereign nation.

While unlikely to pass if it makes the ballot, the idea does enjoy a rather large amount of support. A third of state residents supported peaceful secession in a poll earlier this year. And California is the nation's largest "donor state," paying more into the federal system than it gets back, so economically, secession could be a big win for the state overall.

Another interesting ballot measure, the California Three States Initiative would leave California in the union, but split it into three different states:

"The new state of California would be composed of the following six counties: Los Angeles, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

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The new state of Northern California would be composed of the following 40 counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba.

The new state of Southern California would be composed of the following 12 counties: Imperial, Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego."

Photo Credit: vepar5 / shutterstock.com

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