Now that I live in Indiana, I feel obligated to offer my critiques whenever the opportunity arises, and while there are many things I enjoy about the Hoosier state, everyone can agree that drugs laws here are archaic and downright barbaric at times. The fact that I can purchase a gun and carry it concealed without a permit (don’t get me wrong, I am pro-second amendment), but conversely, I can’t buy a personal amount of weed without feeling like a criminal, is strange to me. It’s a stark contrast to my home state of California where I could easily buy weed but not guns. And I understand that one has nothing to do with the other, but they are both liberties I feel I should be able to enjoy… legally.
Currently, hallucinogenic drugs are having their moment in the spotlight, and rightfully so. They are non-addictive drugs with great safety profiles that can treat several different mental health disorders. Given that rates of adult mental illness AND drug addiction are both extremely high in Indiana, you would think that state officials would be bending over backwards trying to offer better options to the people who they were elected to represent.
Sadly, that’s not the case, as the state has made ZERO progress on both the cannabis and psychedelics fronts. Add to that, not only have they made legal access impossible, but the penalties for being caught with substances from these drug categories are much harsher than in other illegal states. And seriously, it’s just an extra kick when we’re already down to know that neighboring states like Michigan and Illinois are placing importance on psychedelic reform while Indiana judges toss out prison sentences like confetti at a birthday party.
Indiana psychedelics laws
Most psychedelic drugs are illegal in Indiana. Possessing as little as one gram of any of them can cost you up to 60 days in jail and $500 in fines. When someone is caught in possession of more than 28 grams of any of the above substances, the charges are automatically bumped up to “intent to distribute”, which is a Level 2 Felony carrying a sentence of 10-30 years in prison.
In addition, analogs of these compounds and salvia are also banned here. In the Hoosier state, hallucinogenic substances including psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote, and ibogaine are classified as Schedule 1 substances – the most serious drug category, defined as a drug with “a high potential for abuse, and no currently accepted medical value in the U.S.” At this point, we know that is an outright lie as numerous studies have come out over the years claiming the exact opposite, that they do in fact have many medical benefits.
Is anything legal in Indiana?
For the most part no. If we’re talking about any substance that’s remotely mainstream, it will most likely be banned in a state like Indiana. There are however, a handful of psychedelics or psychedelic-related products that are legal by default… or simply, because no one has taken action to ban them yet.
For example, magic mushroom spores are entirely legal in Indiana. But this only applies when they are used for research purposes — as soon as the spores are germinated, they become illegal once again. The reason for this, as confusing as it may be, is because spores don’t contain psilocybin, whereas the fruiting bodies do.
Regarding shrooms, Amanita muscaria mushrooms are also legal in Indiana. This is because the active compound in these types of mushrooms is muscimol, not psilocybin. So far, Louisiana is the only state that has a ban in place against muscimol. In Louisiana, it’s illegal to grow, possess, sell, or buy Amanita muscaria mushrooms (except for ornamental purposes), as per Louisiana State Act 159. That’s not to say that Indiana won’t one day follow in Louisiana’s footsteps. If another state were next in line to ban muscimol, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to guess Indiana as the state in question.
Also in the kind-of-legal but kind-of-not category is San Pedro cactus, which contains mescaline. Peyote is illegal for use throughout the US (expect for active members of the Native American Church), but other plants containing mescaline are perfectly legal unless a prosecutor can prove “intent to consume or sell”.
Ketamine treatments are legally available in Indiana as well, much like the rest of the country. But clinics are limited and because it’s prescribed off-label and not covered by insurance, the extremely high costs are prohibitive for most average Americans.
When it comes to cannabis, traditional flower and delta 9 products are illegal, but alternative cannabinoids (delta 8, delta 10, HHC, etc.) are widely sold at gas stations, smoke shops, liquor stores, and head shops throughout the state – even in rural areas like where I live. There’s been much debate as to whether alternative cannabinoids are federally legal or not, with many stating that they technically are not, being that they are analogs/synthetic versions of tetrahydrocannabinol. But it seems to be one of those laws that no one enforces or cares about.
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The case of Jessica Thornton
Jessica Thornton – Indiana resident, mom of five, and neonatal intensive care nurse – says that for her, psychedelics represented “a lifeline” after years of taking numerous different prescription antidepressants that had little to no effect on her condition. After doing some research online, she turned to microdosing psilocybin mushrooms as a possible solution, and she began growing mushrooms at home (since they are somewhat difficult to find in Indiana).
“I decided to try microdosing psilocybin for depression because nothing else was working for me,” explains Thornton. “I felt as if I was in a constant battle with myself. I’ve been on many antidepressants: Paxil, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Abilify, Cymbalta, Trazodone, Remeron, and Pristiq, the medications all seemed to make me feel like I was living inside a box. I was seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist, and at one point, I was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric facility.”
“It took a few months of microdosing 3-4 times a week and titrating to find the right dosage,” Thornton claims. “I stacked the psilocybin with Lion’s Mane and niacin. Then one day, after about three months of following this protocol, I found myself examining my surroundings –the cold air of an Indiana winter– and thought to myself, this is a beautiful world after all.” At that moment, Thornton felt she “became liberated from the load she’d been carrying.” She finally began to see the beauty and opportunity in life once more.
Sadly, when someone she knew got wind of her unconventional method of dealing with her mental health, they reported her to local authorities and she was faced with the possibility of losing her children and getting locked away in prison for 10 years. “The cops busted my door down, and all pointed their guns at me, you would have thought I had committed a murder,” reflects Thornton, who was charged with two felonies — dealing a scheduled substance and child endangerment.
Thankfully, Jessica’s case was resolved in October of last year with 18 months of probation and 180 days of house arrest (not sure what happened with her custody situation). But honestly, ANY sentence is too much for a person who was simply treating their mental health disorder with the medication that works best for them. She’s lucky she didn’t get 10 years in prison, but she went through an incredibly stressful and degrading ordeal, and now, is probably terrified to continue growing mushrooms… the only product that offered her relief from years of depression.
Why on Earth should a person living in modern-day, woke America have to fear that a gestapo-style police force will bust down their door and drag them off to prison for doing something that not only is safe and victimless, but also legal (or at the very least, less harshly criminalized) when you cross an imaginary line to the north or west?
What’s going on in neighboring states, and the rest of the US?
When it comes to drug reform, we’re a bit behind on the times here in Indiana. And as such, it sometimes comes as a bit of shock to hear how far other regions have come, especially some of our fellow midwestern states. Take Michigan for example, where a handful of cities including larger ones like Detroit and Ann Arbor, have decriminalized possession of entheogenic plants. Or Illinois, where they recently introduced the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act, or CURE Act, as the very first bill during the opening session of Illinois 103rd General Assembly.
In other parts of the country, Oregon has decriminalized the use of psychedelic drugs, and legalized magic mushrooms for medicinal use. Similar laws have also been introduced in Oakland and Santa Cruz, California; Washington DC; and Somerville, Northampton, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The state of Colorado became the first to fully legalize psilocybin mushrooms for recreational use, as well as MDMA for therapeutic use.
Final thoughts on psychedelics in Indiana
If it seems like other states have greater accommodations and are more fun to live in than Indiana, that’s probably because they actually are… especially if psychedelic therapy and bodily autonomy are important to your mental health and overall wellbeing. Again, there are many wonderful things about Indiana… after living here off and on for the last 7 years, it’s definitely grown on me and it seems that I’m here to stay for the long haul. But in the areas where we need improvement, we need it desperately.
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