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Oral History

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Humboldt Holding Up

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You’ve probably heard by now that the Arcata City Council recently passed a resolution decriminalizing the use of psychedelic plants and fungi (if you haven’t, read about it here), an item that was brought forward by advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Humboldt with support from City Councilmember Sarah Schaefer.

“I think it’s a really important ideological stand against the war on drugs and against the fact that we vilify any drug and anybody who uses them since the 1970s,” Councilmember Schaefer told the Outpost. “Plants — like psilocybin, like mescaline, like ayahuasca — have been used in traditional ceremonies, for religious purposes, as rights of passage for cultural events for societies for millenia. And so it just doesn’t make sense that these plants and fungi would be illegal and would be such the center of controversy.”

On this week’s episode of Humboldt Holding Up — the Outpost’s lo-fi, but high-potency podcast — Schaefer dives deeper into her reasons for supporting this resolution, her appreciation for the history and uses of psychedelics and how she hopes this can help the people in her town seek alternative options to improve their mental health and well-being.

Of course, the councilmember cares about a lot of other issues and touches on other topics, including:

  • The City of Arcata’s plans for $4.4 million in ARPA funds
  • Establishing a safe parking program in Arcata to help the homeless
  • Housing needs and plans for development of Arcata’s “Gateway District”
  • What it’s been like to enter city council during the pandemic
  • Her early local fame winning the Oyster Festival’s oyster calling contest at age seven"