Magic mushrooms, a new flag, a new state name and other measures also passed on Tuesday

Depressed about the 2020 election? Here, have some ‘shrooms.

In an election when five more states jumped on the marijuana bandwagon, the state of Oregon upped the drug ante by passing its Measure 109, which authorizes the creation of a program to permit licensed service providers to administer psilocybin mushroom products to people over 21 under the supervision of a facilitator to treat chronic mental health issues like PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Want more? The Beaver State also handily passed Measure 110, which decriminalizes personal, non-commercial possession of most drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines, while establishing addiction recovery centers and other resources funded partially by the state’s marijuana tax revenue.

Coming up late in the legalization of recreational marijuana on Tuesday were the states of Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota. Mississippi legalized medicinal use only, still maintaining a lid on recreational use. The addition of the latest states to legalize weed adds about $9.3 billion to the potential legal revenue from marijuana, according to New Frontier Data, which collects and provides analysis about the cannabis industry.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 36 states, and recreational use is legal in 15.

These drug-related state measures were just a few of the 38 statewide initiatives voted on ballots Tuesday, a number that was about half of the 72 that were voted on in 2016, a decline attributed, like everything else that’s gone haywire this year, to COVID-19, which made it more difficult to obtain signatures to put measures on the ballot.

Among the noteworthy ones was California’s Proposition 22, which exempts app-based delivery and transportation drivers from the recently enacted state labor law that would classify them as employees rather than independent contractors.

The proposition was financed by historically high contributions from Lyft, Uber, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates totalling about $205 million, against a bit more than $20 million put up by the measure’s opponents, a group that included truck drivers and musicians. The expenditures made Prop. 22 the most expensive ballot measure campaign in California history.

Canadian gray wolves may soon be making a comeback in the state of Colorado, thanks to the passage in that state of Proposition 114, which requires the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce and manage gray wolves on designated lands west of the continental divide by 2023. The proposition had a narrow lead Wednesday afternoon, with a bit more than 50% in favor of its passage with almost 90% of the vote counted.

Those opposed to the proposition gave dire warnings of the dangers of reintroducing an apex predator into the wild and the havoc they will wreak on livestock as well as deer and elk, while proponents argued that the deer and elk need something along the lines of wolves to control their number and the destruction they cause by eating riverside vegetation thereby destroying the habitat of beavers, songbirds and native trout. It’s basically an animal popularity contest, with wolves holding onto a slim lead.

A couple of states grappled with their self identity on Tuesday.

If you think the name of Rhode Island is Rhode Island, you’re wrong. Or, rather, you’re right now, but prior to the election, the official name of the state was “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Voters in the Ocean State on Tuesday, gave a strong “yes” on their ballots to Question 1, which removed the “Providence Plantations” from the state’s name, disposing of the slavery connotation while making it easier to remember the state’s name in one quick vote.

Prior to Tuesday, no state has ever voted to change its name without a change in territory.

Meanwhile, deep in Dixie, Mississippi, bless its heart, became the last Southern state to jettison a state flag with a Confederate-themed battle flag component.

The state’s Measure 3 passed on Tuesday which results in a new flag featuring its state flower, a magnolia blossom, surrounded by 20 stars to indicate the fact that Mississippi is the country’s 20th state, above the words “In God We Trust,” which was a phrase that the law retiring the old flag mandated to be included in any new one.

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.