A new bill aiming to decriminalize natural psychedelics, including magic mushrooms, went into effect on March 15 in Washington DC, significantly loosening enforcement on the plants.
Known as Initiative 81, the change aims to help residents who suffer from “anxiety, PTSD, addiction, or depression” and who “fear arrest or prosecution for pursuing healing through natural, entheogenic substances”.
The bill is said to have the support of “prominent medical professionals, police officers, and DC residents”. The Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020 was approved in November 2020 with an overwhelming 70% approval from Washington DC voters. It became law shortly after passing a 30-day review period in the House and Senate.
Other natural psychedelics that will be decriminalized under the Act include ayahuasca and mescaline. Washington DC police will make it their lowest priority to make arrests for the possession of these psychedelics.
In a press release, the cannabis rights group, that led the campaign for Initiative 81 called Decriminalize Nature DC, celebrated the passing of the law.
In a tweet, the group wrote: “As of today, #Initiative81 is #DC law and natural #psychedelics are effectively decriminalized in the District of Columbia! Thank you to everyone who worked on and supported this important reform!”
“These changes help ensure that residents benefiting from natural psychedelics known as entheogens will not face investigation, arrest or incarceration,” the group announced.
“Although current congressional restrictions bar DC from fully decriminalizing or legalizing natural psychedelics, Initiative 81 adds significant protection for those using entheogenic plants and fungi including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, iboga, and mescaline-containing cacti. These entheogenic plants and fungi can help those suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction.”
A DC mother also celebrated the group’s victory, as reported by the DC Post, and wrote: “After more than a year of campaigning and educating DC residents about natural psychedelics, I am thrilled to see Initiative 81 take effect.”
Melissa Lavasani called it a historic moment that came after “countless hours of work and endless dedication from grassroots supporters across DC.”
The group argued that the passing of the law will aid those who use the plants and fungi medicines to heal.
Lavasani said she overcame severe postpartum depression as a result of using natural psychedelics.
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