Detroit residents voted to decriminalize entheogenic plants, including psychedelic mushrooms, in Tuesday’s election. But that doesn’t mean you can start growing your own mushrooms or selling them commercially.
This does mean, however, that the city will not prioritize arrests for use and possession of entheogenic plants.
“Should the voters of the City of Detroit pass an ordinance in the City of Detroit Code of 2019 that would decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted by Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults and would render personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants Plants by adults are the city’s lowest priority for law enforcement, âsays E.
More than 61 percent of voters supported the measure.
State Senator Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, has long been a proponent of decriminalization of entheogens and recently introduced a bill in the State Senate with Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, which proposed decriminalization statewide.
âWhen you look at these entheogenic substances, they don’t cause problems in our communities,â Irwin said. âOverall, these are the types of substances that have medicinal value and a long history of cultural and religious significance. And they have a very low propensity for abuse. And so, for all these reasons, it is makes perfect sense to stop wasting time and money arresting and prosecuting people for consumption. “
Here’s everything you need to know about Proposition E and the psychedelic decriminalization movement:
The difference between decriminalization and legalization
The personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults is still not legal.
Decriminalization means it becomes the city’s lowest law enforcement priority and criminal charges will not be laid against those found in possession of the drugs. It is no longer an offense punishable by arrest or imprisonment, Irwin said.
Detroit is not the first
Denver was the first to decriminalize entheogens, taking the lead in 2019.
In the state, the Ann Arbor city council voted to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in October 2020, making it the fourth city in the United States and the first in Michigan to do so. Washtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit has previously said he has no plans to “continue the use or possession of entheogenic plants in any other part of the county.”
Grand Rapids city commissioners voted in October to “show support” for decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms, but have yet to pass a proposal.
Oregon went further and legalized magic mushrooms this time last year.
Irwin pointed out that in many cases governments have voted to decriminalize psychedelics, but in Detroit, voters adopted the proposal.
“I think it’s particularly interesting and exciting that the citizens have supported him so strongly,” said Irwin. “I think this sends a strong signal that people, at least in the city of Detroit, and I think throughout the state of Michigan, would be better served by no longer arresting, prosecuting or locking up people for using these substances. entheogens.
Advantages and disadvantages of decriminalization
The jury is still out on the benefits of entheogenic plants.
A Johns Hopkins research team found last year that psychedelic treatment with psilocybin can relieve major depression. Still, most scientists and experts agree that there needs to be more research before widespread legalization or commercial sale. The good news is that decriminalization does none of these things.
â(Research has) seen a lot of promise in the use of these substances to treat (depression and anxiety),â Irwin said. “There are people who have chronic pain, who are in our condition right now, who might have migraines or cluster headaches, and you know, for years they’ve been prescribed strong opiates that don’t didn’t really work. But one day, these people might find much more effective relief from a non-toxic alternative. And unfortunately, these people have to choose between using the drug that is safest for them and works best, or breaking the law. the law. “
Irwin theorized that so many people might be against decriminalizing entheogenic plants because they haven’t tried it and associated it with the war on drugs.
“I think one of the challenges we have with these entheogenic substances is that unlike something like cannabis, where most people have tried it and have had personal experience with it, most people haven’t. not tried psilocybin or peyote, or ayahuasca, some of those natural substances that have been used by humans for thousands of years, but they are just not common in our modern society, âhe said. declared.
Because they seem so foreign, people might be more sensitive to the claims of my prohibitionists that entheogenic plants are very dangerous.
Some have anecdotal success stories, including Salame, who both used entheogens for her own medical well-being and witnessed its benefits over others.
âI fell with an autoimmune disease that my grandfather had and he had lost his sight,â Salame said. “I started to lose my eyesight. And then a lot of the doctors here in the US couldn’t help me with what was going on. So I went to Peru and tried some of the herbal medicine. And I haven’t I haven’t had any of the problems that a lot of doctors said was going to happen. That was six years ago.
First and foremost, experts say it’s important to continue research to deepen discussion of the mental and physical health benefits of psychedelics.
Irwin has said his proposal with Hollier to decriminalize entheogenic plants statewide is unlikely to pass, but he wants to strike up a conversation about it.
“When people are forced to face the facts of this issue, more and more people are coming out on the side of decriminalizing and ending the ban on these substances,” he said.
Contact Emma Stein: [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @_emmastein.