In an only-in-the-Bay-Area turn of events, the Oakland Police Department raided the country’s most prominent psychedelic “church” and magic mushroom dispensary last week.
Its minister, Dave Hodges, told Vice News that armed cops busted into Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants on Aug. 13 and seized $200,000 in cash, cannabis and several strains of psychedelic mushrooms; no one was arrested. Though the Oakland City Council voted to decriminalize hallucinogenic fungi possession and consumption last year, that policy doesn’t extend to sales. And according to police, Hodges received several warnings to shut down the operation, which their warrant described as an unpermitted cannabis dispensary.
“The council said mushrooms should not be our priority, and they’re not,” said Oakland Police Captain Randell Wingate told Vice News about the raid. “You can use mushrooms, you can grow your own mushrooms—but selling mushrooms is still not legal.”
Going live on Instagram on Aug. 20 with mushroom advocate @Oakland_Hyphae, Hodges characterized the raid as a misuse of city resources and an infringement on his religious rights. Firefighters were deployed to break into the Zide Door safe during wildfire season, he pointed out, and he questioned the police’s use of resources on the raid during a summer in which homicides are up from last year.
“The amount of Oakland manpower—that is there to be protecting people and saving people’s lives—[used] to come raid a church is insane,” he said. So far, no charges against Hodges have been filed.