Police raid Oakland's psychedelic mushroom church

Oakland's Zide Door "Church of Entheogenic Plants" began as a private club where you could purchase marijuana. Then last year, after the City of Oakland decriminalized entheogenic plants, Zide Door expanded to include psilocybin mushrooms. Last week though, police raided Zide Door and confiscated $200,000, weed, and shrooms. According to authorities, police had warned co-founder Dave Hodges several times before the bust. From Vice:

The church had shut down its cannabis smoking lounge following the statewide shelter-in-place order during COVID-19 but continued the exchange of mushrooms for cash throughout the spring and summer. So on August 13, (Oakland police officer John) Romero and about a dozen other officers returned to the church, located on the ground floor of a nondescript two-story building on a block in East Oakland[…]

"I guess there's nothing else going on in Oakland," said Hodges, who was also the church's minister. "I'm not 100% sure what the trigger for this was, but whatever it was, it's pretty clear this was an intimidation technique.

To hear police tell the story, Hodges knew exactly what he was doing: selling weed without a California state sales license and going well beyond what the council allowed by selling mushrooms. And he had every opportunity to pack it in before the cops came knocking.

In his search warrant, however, Romero made no mention of mushrooms, the church's main draw. Instead, he referred to the church as an "illegal Marijuana dispensary activity."

"The council said mushrooms should not be our priority, and they're not," said Oakland Police Captain Randell Wingate, who supervises the unit that conducted the raid. "You can use mushrooms, you can grow your own mushrooms — but selling mushrooms is still not legal."