Psychedelics Movement Marches Forward in These Four US States

2022-04-13

The psychedelics movement has continued making strides all across the nation these past few weeks.

Hazel Park, Mich., recently passed a resolution decriminalizing an array of entheogenic plants and fungi, including ibogaine and psilocybin. It became the third Michigan city to take the step, following Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The Hazel Park City Council unanimously approved the measure, which forbids city funds from being used to investigate or prosecute the growth, distribution, or use of psychedelics.

“We need to eliminate the stigma around entheogenic plants and acknowledge them for what they are — legitimate medicinal and therapeutic substances that have improved countless lives,” Councilmember Luke Londo, who sponsored the resolution, said in a statement. “As a proponent and occasional consumer, it’s critical that we normalize these natural treatments that allow people to overcome addiction, improve their mental health and embrace their religion and spirituality.”

The local victory comes as statewide activists begin gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to straight-up legalize psychedelics throughout all of mission Michigan.

Certified recently by the state Board of State Canvassers, the latest version of the initiative not only legalizes entheogenic compounds but also authorizes psychedelic support services, outlines sales guidelines, and amends current drug statutes by reducing the criminal penalty for the possession of Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances.

Activists from Michigan’s chapter of Decriminalize Nature Michigan and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) are spearheading the effort to collect signatures and put the measure on the ballot in November.

“Michigan continues to lead progress in the Midwest and today we mark another powerful step toward justice,” Myc Williams, co-director of Decriminalize Nature Michigan and SSDP board member, said in a press release. “As someone who has directly experienced the harms of the criminal justice system, today is a proud day of change and perseverance for myself and for the great state of Michigan!”

Meanwhile, in Maryland and Utah…

Lawmakers recently sent a bill to Governor Larry Hogan (R) which would create a state fund to provide military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury with cost-free access to healing medicines like ketamine, psilocybin, and MDMA. It would also set aside research money for studying use of alternative therapies for afflicted veterans.

Sponsored by Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D), the bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.

In Utah, Governor Spencer Cox just signed a bill to create a task force to research psychedelics and make recommendations on everything from the drugs’ therapeutic potential to if and how psychedelics should be legalized across the state.

“I am pleased to see the support from my colleagues and governor for this bill,” Rep. Brady Brammer (R), who sponsored the bill earlier this year, told Marijuana Moment. “It isn’t easy to set aside the stigma of psychedelics and explore their utility. I look forward to seeing the recommendations of the task force.”

And in Colorado and Missouri…

Colorado lawmakers, on the other hand, just rejected a broad psychedelics measure which would have created a psychedelics panel to study everything from DMT to psilocybin to make policy recommendations based on their findings. The measure was torpedoed by its own sponsor, Rep. Alex Valdez (D), who argues he’d rather see voters take matters into their own hands at the ballot box in November.

“What I believe in is a democratic process,” he said in a statement. “And since that is going to be in front of us all its Coloradans to have a vote on this issue, what I would ask is that the committee postpone indefinitely this bill so that we can let the folks of the state of Colorado have their say and then return to help with whatever happens after that.”

While the broad measure failed, a Colorado House committee has approved a narrower bill that would legalize MDMA prescriptions if ever the federal government does the same. The MDMA measure passed 11-0 and heads to the floor.

Psychedelic reform is being considered in the Show-Me State, too, as a Missouri House Committee recently held hearings on a new GOP-led bill aimed at legalizing psilocybin, DMT,  ibogaine, and mescaline, for therapeutic use in designated care facilities while also reducing the criminal penalty for anyone else found in possession of psychedelics.

The measure was filed in March by Rep. Tony Lovasco (R). “Generally speaking, if something is provided to you legally for the purposes of medicine you probably shouldn’t be prosecuted for that,” he said before touting the successes of recent psychedelic reform in other parts of the country.

“This is not exactly a new idea, but the concept of using these compounds—psilocybin specifically—is becoming more and more researched in the past years,” he said. “This isn’t a recreational program that allows people to be using these substances. Part of the purpose of this bill is simply to provide an expansion to Missouri’s current right to try law and statutes that allow folks that have debilitating conditions to have an option to have an alternative treatment.”

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