Campaign asks City to decriminalize hallucinogenic plants
32 U.S. states have defied federal law and legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, but drug policy reform advocates aren’t done fighting. Instead, many advocates have shifted their focus to ending the war on people who use entheogenic or hallucinogenic plants. Last year, Denver became the first U.S city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. That landmark move was followed by two California cities that went a step further and decriminalized not only psilocybe mushrooms but all entheogenic plants.
Last month, members of the Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor (DNA2) campaign, in an impassioned plea to the Ann Arbor City Council, asked the Council to adopt a nonbinding resolution that decriminalizes, “entheogenic plants, including those scheduled at state and federal levels.”
The resolution states the city won’t use funds to investigate or arrest individuals involved with personal use, growth, and possession of entheogenic plants, and declares a policy of lowest law enforcement priority (LLP) for the City of Ann Arbor.
Decriminalizing a Schedule 1 federally prohibited substance is a tricky process to maneuver. The LLP resolutions are essentially non-binding, leaving interpretation up to local law enforcement; however, these resolutions were consistently passed by a high margin in cities across Michigan for years leading up to the vote for legalized recreational marijuana in 2019.
City by city, adopted reforms pointed towards local municipalities until the patchwork grew across the state and reached a tipping point, in terms of matters of public opinion. This phenomenon is a remarkably effective political strategy, which forces the hands of the politicians, as the general public is usually way ahead of politicians regarding drug policy reform. Either adopted by municipalities at the behest of advocates or passed by vote through a local referendum, both measures sent a strong message to legislators regarding the will of the people, laying the foundation for future reform efforts.
Entheogenic plants 101
So what’s an entheogenic plant? The DNA2 website defines an entheogenic plant as a “class of psychoactive substances that, when ingested, induce a non-ordinary state of consciousness for therapeutic, medicinal, spiritual, or religious purposes.” The specific entheogens that DNA2 asked for City Council to decriminalize are psilocybe mushroom, cacti, Iboga and Ayahuasca.
One of the people who testified before the Council in March was Erik Massey, who said these plant medicines have been used for thousands of years, and people shouldn’t have to fear prosecution for pursuing safe and effective treatments.
“I, myself, have gone through a process of healing from depression, from anxiety, and am still working through my own past traumas,” Massey told the Council. “And my ability to be an engaged member of the community, a present and loving father for my son, and my own best version of myself, has been significantly enabled by healing through plant medicines.”
In an op-ed letter published in the Michigan Daily Feb 6, campaign members said Ann Arbor has a “history and a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking cities in the Midwest, if not the country. Will its current leadership honor that reputation, or tarnish it by attempting to delay the inevitable? The members of Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor are looking toward a brighter, healthier, saner future, and we urge City Council to join us in doing the same.”
Respected as a safe & natural healing sacrament for millennia throughout Mexico, Central America and the world.
Beneficial for depression & recidivism.
Encourages openness, creativity, and spiritual growth.
John Hopkins: Top 5 most meaningful experiences.
UCLA & NYU: Treating end-of-life anxiety.
Honored as sacred plants for thousands of years throughout the Americas.
Central to traditional religious and healing practices.
Considered a sacrament in the Native American Church.
Beneficial for the treatment of alcoholism.
From Central Africa through Gabon, iboga is revered for initiatory rites of passage involving encounters with ancestors from the spirit realm.
Beneficial for treatment-resistant opiate and methamphetamine addiction.
Over 75 indigenous groups in the Amazonian basin respect ayahuasca as a sacred “plant teacher.”
Beneficial for depression, addiction, anxiety and PTSD.
Ayahuasca treatment in the Brazilian prison population reduces recidivism.
Benefits creativity, openness, and spiritual growth.
Read the resolution here