This is Essential Politics for August 2017. Find our daily look at California political and government news over here.
California voters could decide whether the state should decriminalize the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms by adults in 2018. A ballot measure was filed Friday with the state Attorney General's office.
The measure would exempt adults 21 and older from penalties of possessing, selling, transporting, or cultivating psilocybins.
At least 365,880 valid signatures are needed to place the measure on the 2018 statewide ballot.
Kevin Saunders, a mayoral candidate in the town of Marina, near Monterey, is behind the push.
Saunders said using mushrooms helped him stop using heroin 15 years ago.
“I think we’re seeing something that could literally heal our brothers and sisters," he said. "We’re talking about real cutting-edge stuff."
Saunders said he hopes voters will be mature and have a serious, robust conversation about the use of mushrooms.
"It’s a natural progression from marijuana legalization," he said. "I think that we are having an opportunity to lead the discussion."
Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in November through Proposition 64.
Psilocybin is considered a Schedule I drug by the California Controlled Substances Act and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
These drugs have no accepted medical use and a high potential for dependence and abuse, according to the DEA. Heroin, LSD, and marijuana are in the same category.
Two 2016 studies found a dosage of psilocybin helped ease anxiety and depression for some cancer patients.