It’s definitely becoming a trend that can’t be ignored. Individual locations in the US are passing legislation to legalize and decriminalize magic mushrooms, and other entheogenic plants. Newest is Detroit, which passed a voter measure to decriminalize magic mushrooms in late 2021.
The Detroit measure to decriminalize magic mushrooms makes psychedelics that much more mainstream. A federal legalization probably won’t be until after cannabis is legalized though. Remember to subscribe to The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and all the latest, most exciting industry news. And save big on Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!
What’s the news?
On Tuesday November 2nd, 2021, Detroit voters passed Proposal E, to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other entheogenic plants. The definition of entheogen, is “a psychoactive, hallucinogenic substance or preparation (such as psilocybin or ayahuasca) especially when derived from plants or fungi and used in religious, spiritual, or ritualistic contexts.”
The measure was passed with 61% of voters in favor, and 39% against. Included in the ‘in favor’ category was mayor Mike Duggan, who also won re-election that day. Said Michigan State Sen. Adam Hollier at the news: “The war on drugs was a war on Black and brown communities and it’s good to see Black communities pushing back.”
The ballot measure stated that the change would amend the city’s code to “decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults and make the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.”
As a decriminalization measure, and not a legalization, though the new mandate means the ability to posses these compounds within the city limits without it being a priority for law enforcement, no legalized commercial market was instituted in any form, medical or recreational. Though this new amendment effects many entheogenic plants, the main ones included are magic mushrooms, ibogaine, ayahuasca, and mescaline.
Michigan at the forefront of psychedelics legalization
Detroit and its new policy to decriminalize magic mushrooms is just part of what’s going on in Michigan. Michigan certainly isn’t the first state to propose legislation for psychedelic decriminalization/legalization, but it is most definitely a front-runner in the fight to get these compounds approved in some way legally, with several moves putting it at the front of the current race.
Much of this has to do with SB 631 which was introduced on September 3rd, 2021. This bill would not only decriminalize psychedelic compounds, but actually legalize them statewide, making it the first state (along with California, which has its own bill in the works) to allow for recreational use of psychedelic compounds. The bill has been sitting in the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety since the summer, so how much progress there will be, or when, is hard to say. However, the bill is still alive.
If it were to actually be passed, it would legalize the cultivation, delivery, creation, possession, and communal use of recreational entheogenic plants like magic mushrooms. This would not create a legal sales market, however, as the transfer of money for products would remain illegal. The one caveat to this, is in the circumstances of “counseling, spiritual guidance, or a related service that is provided in conjunction with the use of an entheogenic plant or fungus under the guidance and supervision of an individual providing the service”, when it would not be illegal to charge a fee.
Even without a regulated market, there don’t seem to be civil penalties attached, which would be the case with a standard decriminalization, thus making for an actual legalization. Though the bill co-authors worded it with the intention of use for religious purposes, there is no specification about showing religious intent, nor can any government tell a person how to be spiritual without breaking the first amendment of the constitution.
What else is going on in Michigan?
Trying to pass a state-wide psychedelics legalization measure is already quite forward thinking. And Michigan’s biggest city Detroit passing a bill to decriminalize psychedelics in the form of entheogenic plants, will only help bolster this larger initiative. Elsewhere in Michigan, other things have also happened to promote these looser psychedelics measures.
For one thing, Detroit is not the first location in Michigan to independently create a decriminalization measure. In 2020, Ann Arbor, Michigan passed a decriminalization measure, followed by Washtenaw County, Michigan in 2021. Ann Arbor passed its legislation by way of a unanimous city council vote which decriminalized possession, cultivation, and non-commercial use of entheogenic plants like magic mushrooms.
Washtenaw County did it differently, with the decriminalization coming by way of the County Prosecutor’s Office. The office created a directive for it to be the lowest priority of law enforcement to prosecute people for crimes involving such psychedelic plants. Much like Seattle, this is not a legal policy change, which should be considered, but rather a directive to law enforcement that they shouldn’t be going after these crimes. This lack of an actual legal basis, does not legally prevent such prosecutions, though.
Grand Rapids is also making some headway, but not in the form of a decriminalization or legalization measure. Instead, the city is pushing for more research into entheogens, so that more information can be collected for a possible future decriminalization.
Other locations in Michigan are also starting to mobilize efforts for legal changes concerning psychedelics in the form of entheogenic plants. These include Hazel Park and Madison Heights, both suburbs of Detroit; Lancing, the capital of Michigan; college town East Lancing; Traverse City, which is a big tourist destination; the city of Ypsilanti; and Flint, which, given the years of issues it had simply getting clean water, should really just have drugs thrown at it directly.
Psychedelics in the rest of the US
There are several state and local locations in the US that have already approved some kind of measure for the decriminalization of psychedelics, whether with formal legislation, or a directive to law enforcement. These include: Denver, Colorado; Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Arcata, California; Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Detroit, Michigan; Washington, DC; Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton, Massachusetts; and Seattle, Washington.
In terms of statewide policies, Oregon leads the country with a November, 3rd, 2020 medical legalization measure (Measure 109), and a full state decriminalization policy (Measure 110) that were voted in on the same day. Both passed by voter referendum in 2020, making Oregon the first state to set such policies.
On February 4th, 2021, New Jersey instituted a lesser decriminalization policy that lowered penalties, but without getting rid of them. Whereas the fine for magic mushrooms used to be as high as $15,000, its now capped at $1,000. And whereas offenders used to face up to five years in prison, they now only face six months. Still not the best, but a definite improvement.
Rhode Island didn’t exactly set a specific decriminalization law, but on July 7th, 2021, it instituted a two-year pilot program for the use of illicit drugs in authorized consumption sites with medical supervision. Each municipality is in charge of giving authorization to facilities, and though this is not a legalization, it does provide a way to use drugs without legal repercussions, so long as it’s done in the correct area. What will happen after the pilot program ends, is hard to say.
While Detroit is the most recent to pass a measure to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other entheogenic plants, plenty of other locations in the US are also looking to loosen laws on this front. However, bills often come up and die, like with Florida, so waiting for a bill to gain traction before getting all excited, is sometimes best.
What can be said for sure, is that there is certainly a trend going on when it comes to the acceptance of psychedelics, both medically and recreationally. So even if current legislation in the pipelines won’t go through, there will surely be more attempts coming. Plus, with so any locations that have already approved measures, this is no longer a possible idea for the future, but something which is actively happening. 2022 should be a very interesting year when it comes to the further legalizations and decriminalization measures of psychedelic compounds.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.